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Washington runs New Mexico out of tournament

Guard Isaiah Thomas (2) helps lead the celebration in the final seconds of Washington’s 82-64 win over New Mexico.

Associated Press

Guard Isaiah Thomas (2) helps lead the celebration in the final seconds of Washington’s 82-64 win over New Mexico.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas danced to Washington's timeout huddle after finishing yet another second-half fast break with a basket and a bellowing vocal flourish.

In their wake, the weary New Mexico players huffed and puffed to the bench, their shoulders sagging.

The rest of the East Region had better listen to all that barking. When these surging Huskies are running in unison, they're no ordinary 11th seed.

Pondexter scored 18 points, Thomas added 15 and Washington extended its late-season roll to the region semifinals with an 82-64 victory over the No. 3 Lobos on Saturday. The Huskies (26-9) have won nine straight, including the Pac-10 tournament.

The Lobos (30-5) couldn't keep up with the breakneck offensive pace in their second loss in three games, falling behind by 23 midway through the second half.

"We did a great job of forcing our tempo on them," Pondexter said. "That's what really wore them down."

Washington advanced to the region semifinal in Syracuse, N.Y., against the winner of today's West Virginia-Missouri game.

Dairese Gary matched his career high with 25 points and Darington Hobson had 11 points and nine rebounds for New Mexico, which had a 15-game winning streak and a No. 8 national ranking before losing in the Mountain West tournament final last weekend.

Hobson, slowed by a left wrist he hurt in the first round, was seething after predicting a long tournament run.

"They played the best game of their life tonight," he said of the Huskies. "They're not even that good. … We weren't ready, and they beat us."

Despite the game plan of Lobos coach Steve Alford, New Mexico inexplicably played the first half at the uptempo pace. Washington ran the Lobos' seven-man rotation off the court, jumping to a 12-point halftime lead.

"It's just a really good basketball team that's playing really well," Alford said of Washington. "It's kind of scary, and that's what we ran into. That's hard to compete against."

Kentucky 90, Wake Forest 60: Darius Miller scored a career-high 20 points and the top-seeded Wildcats (34-2) made easy work of the No. 9 Demon Deacons (20-11) at New Orleans.

Miller scored 16 points in the first half to help the Wildcats (34-2) build an early double-digit lead that ballooned beyond 30 in the second half.

Al-Farouq Aminu led Wake Forest with 16 points.

Kentucky plays the winner of today's game between Cornell and Wisconsin in region semifinals Thursday at Syracuse, N.Y.

Washington runs New Mexico out of tournament 03/21/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 21, 2010 1:12am]

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