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Young Huskies respond well from first loss, roll past Vikings

SEATTLE (AP) -- After getting embarrassed for the first time this
season, Washington got defensive -- just in time for one of its
biggest early season home tests in years.

Justin Dentmon scored 18 points and had a career-high nine
rebounds, Spencer Hawes had 16 points and five blocked shots and
No. 17 Washington stifled Portland State throughout in a 105-73
victory Saturday night.

Hawes' fellow freshman Quincy Pondexter added 16 points -- his
team-leading scoring average coming in -- and Ryan Appleby had 15.
The young Huskies (8-1) responded from a 20-point humbling at No.
16 Gonzaga last weekend by restoring some confidence before
12th-ranked LSU arrives Wednesday night.

They led by as many as 38 in a runaway second half, which
resembled a varsity-junior varsity scrimmage.

"Tonight is what we wanted to see in our previous eight
games," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said of his team of eight
freshmen and sophomores.

"We are not near where we need to be -- but this week we made
progress. Our defensive effort was the best it's been all year."

Washington set season highs in points and victory margin in its
25th consecutive nonconference home win, dating to a 2003 loss to
Gonzaga.

When asked if this effort of forcing 19 turnovers and basically
manhandling an opponent was at the level Washington needs against
LSU, Dentmon said, "Most definitely."

"We focused on defending their big men tonight, because they
shoot a good percentage," he said. "I think that's what we are
going to try to do against LSU, because they've got good bigs,
too."

Portland State (7-4) was anything but big, or good. The harried
Vikings won at Arizona State earlier this season but led just twice
on Saturday -- 2-0 and 5-3.

When asked for positives for his team in its biggest loss since
a 116-68 rout at Oregon last month, coach Ken Bone said, "Nobody
was injured."

Seattle-area native Ryan Sommer led the Vikings with 14 points
and "played his heart out," according to Bone, a former
Washington assistant.

Scott Morrison, the Vikings' leading scorer coming in at 15
points per game, scored just seven. Second-leading scorer Juma
Kamara was 4-for-16 shooting and had 11 points.

The Huskies spent the time between Saturday and last weekend's
97-77 loss at Gonzaga stressing the need for more intense defense.
That's because Final Four-entrant LSU is coming and the Pac-10
season begins in two weeks with a trip to No. 1 UCLA.

Presto! Portland State missed 18 of its first 24 shots and shot
just 36 percent for the game. Washington's man-to-man defense
continually pushed the Vikings' offense farther away from the
basket.

When Portland State did get inside, Hawes was there. The center
whom coaches said had been drifting too far outside previously
either blocked or repeatedly altered shots.

"If we can play this level of defense, we will have some
success this season," Romar said. "The issue is, are we going to
do it?"

The game was essentially over when Washington took an immediate,
10-point lead six minutes in, on Hawes' dunk after a drive down the
middle of the lane. The 7-foot center wowed the quiet,
less-than-capacity crowd -- and the Vikings -- by dribbling from
midcourt on a fast break before his slam.

Hawes was 7-for-8 from the field, the third time this season he
has shot over 80 percent.

"I was feeling it. Everything was going in," Hawes said.

The lead grew to 35-16 lead eight minutes later, following a
finger-roll lay up and deep jump shot by Pondexter. He punctuated
his jumper by punching the air, the only raw emotion of an
otherwise methodical first half.

It ended with Washington ahead 48-35 only because Portland
State's Deonte Huff threw in a rushed shot from near halfcourt and
off the glass at the halftime buzzer. Huff did not start as usual
because he was late for a team meeting Friday morning.

The Vikings never got closer. They went 2-for-10 to begin the
second half. Appleby's steal and layup and then a deep 3-pointer,
plus a bank shot in from Hawes, ended a 10-0 run and gave
Washington a 63-39 lead with 14 minutes to go.

And it got much worse from there.

Washington's only negative was starter Adrian Oliver's mild
concussion. But Romar said the freshman guard should be OK
following a day off Sunday.