SEATTLE — 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 17th-ranked Huskies overcame a sluggish first half to rout Eastern Washington 98-72 on Tuesday night.
For one half, the Huskies’ warmup for the Maui Invitational looked more like a headache. The Eagles lingered around just enough to make things uncomfortable for Washington coach Lorenzo Romar.
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.
Kevin Winford led the Eagles (0-2) with 14 points.
Washington might be excused for the sluggish first half with what awaits on the horizon. The Huskies leave Saturday for the Maui Invitational and the Eagles were meant to be an easy warmup before the challenge that awaits on the islands.
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 open shots and second chances.
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 Venoy Overton, Isaiah Thomas, Scott Suggs and freshman Terrence Ross all finished with nine.
But the real spark Washington needed early came from Overton, the Huskies’ senior backcourt pest.
Washington trailed 13-10 early before Overton entered and sparked a 10-0 burst, started by his 3-pointer and followed up by a steal and offensive rebound by Overton that led to C.J. Wilcox’s 3.
Later in the half, Overton poked a steal away first from Cliff Colimon, then Geoffrey Allen, passed behind his head into the front court 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 with a noticeable limp after taking a hard fall on a drive.
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. Colimon was a question mark to even see the court with a sprained ankle, but scored seven points.