Washington continues to close in on Pac-10 titleFeb 15, 2009 - 1:18 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- It has gotten so bad for Oregon this season that Washington only needs one good half to put the Ducks away.
Justin Dentmon scored 14 of his 21 points before halftime as No. 24 Washington used a big first half to cruise to a 103-84 victory over lowly Oregon on Saturday.
Freshman Isaiah Thomas netted 24 points and Jon Brockman added 21 and 18 rebounds for the Huskies (19-6, 10-3 Pac-10), who solidified their hold on first place in the Pac-10 Conference with their third straight win.
Washington got some assistance from Arizona on Saturday, which defeated UCLA to hand the Bruins (8-4) their second straight loss. The Huskies will get a chance to build on their 1 1/2-game lead when they travel to Pauley Pavilion on Thursday.
Despite the nice lead, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar does not want his team to get complacent.
"We're a game and a half up on (UCLA)," he said. "We can come back next week, come back next Monday and we're in third or fourth place. That's how this league is right now. Again, do we have focus? Are we going to practice right this week? Are we going to pay attention to detail? That's all we can worry about."
After scoring the first eight points of the game, the Huskies built a 21-8 advantage when Dentmon's 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run. The senior guard also scored five straight points later in the half, extending the lead to 30-16 with 7:01 left.
Dentmon, who made 5-of-8 shots before the break, knocked down a jumper with three seconds left before intermission, supplying his squad with a 49-25 cushion.
Washington went 55 percent (16-of-29) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and made took numerous trips to the free-throw line, converting 15-of-19.
Washington cruised after the break, as Oregon got no closer than 15 points thereafter.
However, Romar was not completely happy with his team's performance as Oregon scored 59 points and hit 10 3-pointers after the intermission.
Tajuan Porter netted 27 of his season-high 33 points and all six of his 3-pointers in the second half.
"In the second half, I thought we let our guard down a little bit on the defensive end early, and we allowed them to get in a bit of a rhythm, and it allowed Tajuan Porter to really get going," Romar said. "The last four games we've played against Oregon, Tajuan hasn't hurt us. We were able to hold them at bay. But once they got an offensive rhythm, and he got going, man, he went crazy."
Dentmon, who finished 3-of-4 on 3-pointers and grabbed two steals, got Romar's message.
"If we want to be champion, we can't play bad defense in the second half," he said. "We have to finish games out, just like a champion would."
Freshman LeKendric Longmire scored 16 points and classmate Michael Dunigan added 14 and eight rebounds for the Ducks (6-19, 0-13), who lost by 10 or more points for the third straight game.
While Oregon is the lone winless team in the Pac-10 Conference, coach Ernie Kent believes that his young team's play in the second half is a good sign.
"We know we need to win," he said. "If anything, the adversity of the season is wearing on them, but at the same time, you see them starting to come back. And that tells you about their strength of character going down the road."
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