CLIFF DESPEAUX / THE SEATTLE TIMES
With 13:58 left in the second half, Marquette held a 15 point lead. Needless to say, the game looked over. The Huskies defense was lacking, getting beat to the hole, getting beat on the boards, running off screens in odd directions leaving Marquette’s shooters wide open for three’s. Romar called a TO. Then, slowly, patiently, and with aggressive in your face no holds barred defense, the Huskies fought back. Five minutes later the Dawgs had whittled the lead down to five, thanks in large part to Elston Turner and Quincy Pondexter. Elston was lights out from long range, while Quincy went to work on the boards. Overall, the team’s energy increased ten-fold, almost as if they had Marquette right where they wanted them. A tease, just like this team has been all year. Any true Husky fan who has followed this team all year like we have knows the tremendous talent Romar has put together, but until the last few weeks, it wasn’t working together in a cohesive unit. Well, now it is, and it’s clicking right along. Isaiah has found his stroke from outside, Quincy is being Quincy, working is butt of on the boards and getting shots, MBA is aggressive offensively and has become a defensive force down low, and finally Elston Turner is maturing right before our eyes on both ends of the court. His three point shooting is dagger-in-the-heart good, while his defense has improved so much Romar keeps him in the game at the end rather than swapping him for offense/defense. All of the sudden now the Huskies have four legit offensive weapons. That is tough to guard. Marquette constantly lost track of Turner on the perimeter, same with Isaiah. MBA almost always had one-on-one on the block. When the Huskies can be this potent on offense it makes them tremendously hard to guard. The key is defensive intensity. The focus and discipline the Huskies showed in the final 13 minutes of that game today was impressive, the mark of a great, maturing team.
In the end though, it all came down to Lorenzo Romar handing the ball to his closer, the senior, Quincy Pondexter. By not calling a timeout after Isaiah’s miss, he was telling Quincy “this is your time, your moment, win it, grasp it”, and Quincy did just that. Patiently dribbling the ball up high, he spread the court, confidentially telling his fellow teammates to stay put, I got this. As the seconds tick down, Q was in complete control, slowing moving forward like a lion ready to pounce on his prey. Dribble drive left, grinding against his defender, determined to will the ball in, and he did just that, banking in a shot that literally required all of his energy to complete.
At the end of the game, Quincy leads his Huskies off the court in victory, living to fight another day, living for this time, this moment. Grasp it, Carpe Diem. Quincy Pondexter, Mr. Clutch.