Justin Holliday's career-best 18 points help Huskies defeat Eastern Washington

SEATTLE -- Washington can now think about Maui without getting in trouble for looking ahead.

For one half Tuesday night, it looked like the Huskies (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) were already island bound.

Justin Holiday scored eight of his career-high 18 points during Washington's 20-5 run to open the second half, center Matthew Bryan-Amaning posted his second double-double in as many games, and the Huskies overcame a sluggish first half to rout Eastern Washington 98-72.

"I don't think so," Holiday said. "I haven't been thinking about Hawaii yet. I go game by game. Of course we're going to have slow starts, I don't know the reasons for it."

Ask coach Lorenzo Romar and he thinks his squad simply got "out-scrapped" in the first half by an Eastern Washington team that proved to be more of a headache than the Huskies envisioned in their last warmup before the Maui Invitational.

Any worries, though, quickly vanished in the opening moments of the second half.

The Huskies' (2-0) passive first-half defense suddenly became aggressive and suffocating. Holiday scored on quick run outs and added a 3-pointer. Abdul Gaddy, who made just three 3-pointers during his difficult freshman season, knocked down three on Tuesday night, two during the spurt to start the second half that made it 62-39. The lead only grew, reaching 29 late in the second half.

"They came out and showed us they were confident," Washington guard Venoy Overton said. "They showed us they were better than the last team we played."

Washington might be excused for the sluggish first half with what awaits on the horizon. The Huskies leave Saturday for Maui and the Eagles were meant to be an easy warmup before the challenge that awaits on the islands, beginning with Virginia.

For at least one half, EWU was more of a thorn than an easy walkthrough.

The Eagles, who lost to Division II Seattle Pacific and Montana State-Billings in their exhibition games, didn't blink against the preseason favorites in the Pac-10. If not for 14 first-half turnovers, the Eagles might have found themselves in the lead, thanks largely to a passive Washington defense that gave up open shots and second chances.

"Of our 14 turnovers, six of them were what I consider inexcusable, one's that we can't make," Eastern Washington coach Kirk Earlywine said. "But I was happy with our competitiveness to rebound the ball."

That changed quickly in the second half. Washington scored the first nine points of the half and 13 of 16. Coming off a career-high 28 points in the opener against McNeese State, Bryan-Amaning followed up with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the smaller Eagles. Gaddy finished with 13 points and six assists, while Overton, Isaiah Thomas, Scott Suggs and freshman Terrence Ross all finished with nine.

"It was a great game for us to use as a springboard going to Maui," Romar said. "They were more deliberate ... they were more organized offensively, they knew who they wanted to take shots and it was the kind of team that if we didn't guard them would have scored a lot more points, but I thought overall we did a pretty good job defending them."

Kevin Winford led the Eagles (0-2) with 14 points. Tremayne Johnson added 13 points for the Eagles, who simply couldn't keep up with the Huskies in the second half. EWU played without point guard Glen Dean, the Big Sky defensive player of the year last season. Cliff Colimon was a question mark to even see the court with a sprained ankle, but scored seven points.

Overton is also a little nicked up for the Huskies after just two games. Washington trailed 13-10 early before Overton entered and sparked a 10-0 burst, started by his 3-pointer.

Later in the first half, Overton poked a steal away then passed behind his head into the frontcourt where Bryan-Amaning waited for a a two-handed dunk. Overton had a steal on the Eagles' next possession and his sprinting layup gave the Huskies a 40-30 lead.

Overton checked out with 2:20 left, limping after taking a hard fall. He had an icepack on his hip and backside after the game.

"My tailbone is a little sore, but no worries, I'll be all right," he said.