10:00 PM ET, November 25, 2004
Sullivan Arena, Anchorage, Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Nate Robinson helped stake Washington (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) to a big lead early Thursday night against Utah, then helped stave off an upset.Robinson scored 29 points, including eight in the final five minutes, and the Huskies defeated Utah 78-71 in the quarterfinals of the Great Alaska Shootout.After the Utes tied it at 66 with 2:50 left, the Huskies scored nine straight points to take control. Robinson, held to two points for nearly 15 minutes of the second half, hit three big baskets down the stretch to thwart Utah's rally.Utah's Andrew Bogut, a 7-foot center who is also a member of Australia's Olympic team, scored 23 points, including 19 in the second half as the Utes erased an 11-point deficit. He also led the Utes with 12 rebounds.Brandon Roy added 25 points for Washington (2-0), which will face Oklahoma in the semifinals Friday night. The Sooners beat High Point 93-65.Robinson hit his first five 3-point attempts en route to 19 first-half points.He was also part of a suffocating defense that forced three turnovers and two 5-second violations in the first five minutes as Washington charged to a 16-3 lead. Utah (1-1) attempted just six shots in the first eight minutes.Utah coach Ray Giacoletti said the Utes tried to duplicate Washington's pressure in practice this week."You just can't unless you face it," Giacoletti said.Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar knew coming in that the Utes like to dictate a deliberate offensive pace."Our only hope tonight was to try and pressure them as much as we could and not allow them to just move the ball around the horn at will against us," Romar said.Behind six points by Justin Hawkins, the Utes used a 10-0 run to close within 21-19 midway through the first half.After a timeout, Washington came out strong. Roy hit a reverse layup and Robinson hit two 3-pointers to push the lead back to double digits.In the second half, Utah chipped away at the lead and tied it twice, the last at 66-all with 2:50 remaining. But Robinson answered, the first time with a 12-foot jump shot and then with a drive through the post.Romar said when Robinson was younger, he would have just kept shooting after missing shots early in the second half. On Thursday, Romar said, Robinson showed patience."He played within himself, but then down the stretch when we needed a bucket he turned it on again," Romar said. "And great players are able to do that. He picked his spots and when there were openings he was able to come through for us. He made big baskets."Romar was relieved to escape with a win against Bogut and his teammates."That's a good basketball team. We're talking about one of the top one or two big men in the country in Bogut," Romar said. "Once he got going in the second half I thought we were able to see what he was capable of doing and that's without a whole lot of touches."
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