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Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2005 7:28 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(1) Washington 88, (16) Montana 77

BOISE, Idaho (Ticker) -- Montana proved a worthy opponent for top seed Washington.

Brandon Roy scored 17 points and Tre Simmons added 15 as the Huskies were tested before defeating the 16th-seeded Grizzlies, 88-77, in a first-round game in the Albuquerque Region.

Washington (28-5) faces Pacific in the next round Saturday. The Tigers advanced with a 79-71 victory over Pittsburgh earlier Thursday. The Huskies recorded their first NCAA Tournament win since reaching the Sweet 16 in 1998.

"Montana was down 16-2 and did not fold," said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, who agreed to an eight-year contract extension earlier in the day. "They did a very, very good job."

While Washington, which is one victory shy of matching a school record for wins in a season, never was in danger of becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16th seed, the Grizzlies played them even after a dismal start.

Montana (18-13) appeared to be jittery early, missing nine of its first 10 shots as Washington opened an early 16-2 lead. The Grzzlies went more than three minutes without scoring as the Huskies scored the game's first 13 points.

"Usually, we try to take advantage of our team (depth) early and I think that's what we did," Simmons said. "Then, we kind of played it cool after that, kind of turned the switch on and off, playing cool and then playing aggressively."

Perhaps trying to justify the first top seed in school history, Washington came out fired up, making 11 of its first 13 shots, including its first seven attempts. The Huskies scored 27 points in the first eight minutes and raced to a 19-point advantage midway through the first half.

"We come out with a lot of intensity and we rotated some guys in there who kind of kept the intensity up a little bit," Roy said.

But Montana hung in from there as Washington had trouble putting away the contest. Kamarr Davis scored 24 points for the Grizzlies, including a jumper that pulled them within 72-63 with 6:10 remaining.

Davis also grabbed 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

"Coach (Larry Krystkowiak) told us, 'They like to take quick shots,'" Davis said. "We believed in the coaching staff and went out and contested shots and got rebounds. We began to run our offense and that's what got us back in the game."

After the slow start, Montana shot 58 percent to finish at 51 percent (33-of-65) from the field.

"It was really difficult getting down 16-2," Krystkowiak said. "I asked the guys at the end of the game how many of the guys wanted to start the ballgame over and have another chance. I don't know exactly what took place. I know there was an extreme amount of pressure at the beginning of the game."

Krystkowiak elected to go right at Washington and the Grizzlies could not stop the more athletic Huskies, who shot 54 percent (32-of-59).

Five players scored in double figures for Washington as Will Conroy scored 12, Bobby Jones 11 and Jamaal Williams 10 off the bench.

"I think coach does a good job of pumping us up before the game," Simmons added. "But that's just us, bringing intensity to the game."

Washington made 15-of-22 free throws, while Montana got to the line only eight times and made just two.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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