10:00 PM ET, December 16, 2005
Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, Washington
Two years later, the New Mexico transfer is scoring for himself. The Huskies (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 11 AP) rode Williams' career-high 26 points -- in just 21 minutes -- to a 91-74 victory over Eastern Washington on Friday night.
Williams wasn't exactly preoccupied with the Eagles' defense.
"Yeah, it seemed like I had an advantage on ... I don't even know who was guarding me," he said.
So went another easy win for the Huskies (9-0), who extended the nation's longest home-court winning streak to 30 games at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Until Eastern Washington (4-4) trimmed the lead in the final three minutes, the game was on par with Washington's national-best 26.5-point scoring margin.
Team leader Brandon Roy had 25 points, and freshman Jon Brockman added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Washington, which was unranked to begin the season but is now off to its best start since 1976 when the Huskies were 14-0.
And the Huskies still have five more home games before they play their first on an opponent's campus -- Jan. 12 at Southern Cal.
Rodney Stuckey scored 17 points for Eastern Washington. Stuckey was the national freshman leader in scoring, coming in with an average of 20.3 points per game. That was on 49 percent shooting through seven games. But he shot just 30 percent (6 for 20) against in-your-face Washington.
"You've got to credit Washington for some of that," Eagles coach Mike Burns said. "Their defense is designed to jam up the passing lanes and take you out of any pattern."
Nobody is taking Williams out of his pattern right now.
Six days after lighting up his former Lobos teammates for 22 points in a 81-71 win, Williams scored his team's first eight points. He made five of his first eight shots and then bulled to two easy baskets in the lane to send Washington on an 11-0 run late in the first half. Roy provided a stylish, breakaway, double-clutch dunk to highlight the decisive spurt that gave his team a 42-22 lead.
With that, the Eagles' three-game winning streak vanished.
"That was just an effort run," Burns said. "They just gave a greater effort than we did."
Williams, averaging 14.9 points per game, is giving good efforts. He is shooting 64 percent over his last three games against Eastern Washington, Gonzaga (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 10 AP) and Loyola Marymount.
And they aren't all baskets in the lane. Friday, the chiseled, 6-foot-6, 235-pound Williams deftly drifted onto the wings and made jumpers. He also continually beat defenders down the floor.
Williams credits his coaches for forcing him into the gym for extra shooting two mornings each week. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar simply credits Williams for getting in better shape.
"Last year, he only averaged 17 minutes per game," the coach said. "A lot of times, he just couldn't play any more than that."
Williams is averaging 22.1 minutes this season -- and that is with Husky starters often getting plenty of second-half rest during all these blowouts over inferior competition.
This time, the Huskies' 19-point halftime lead grew to 29 twice in the first six minutes of the second half. Roy had nine points in that span. Brockman sustained that 20-plus point margin by scoring seven straight points before he left the game with 4:27 remaining.
Roy said he is stressing to his teammates the conference road will be much bumpier than this. Washington's first Pac-10 game is Dec. 29 against Arizona State at -- where else? -- home.
"We can't believe all the hype, because the Pac-10 is going to be tough," Roy said. "We haven't proven we can win on the road yet.
"It's important we don't believe the hype."
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||30-67 (.448)||38-73 (.521)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-17 (.235)||3-14 (.214)|
|FT Made-Attempted||10-13 (.769)||12-15 (.800)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|
|» Dec 16, 2005||@WASH 91, EWU 74||Recap|