A game into a supposed rebound season, the University of Washington basketball team couldn't shoot straight so consequently it couldn't find the win column, losing to Northern Illinois 71-64. Yet it came up with plenty of rebounds.
In Nate Roberts' case, it was a historic and exhausting number — 19.
The 6-foot-11 junior from Washington, D.C., brought a career high, collecting 16 of them in the second half, and his performance now ranks among the top 18 in school history.
Roberts still was well shy of the UW school record, set by Ed Corell, who snatched an amazing 30 rebounds in a 67-49 victory over Oregon in 1962.
The problem with rebound records, however, is the recipients would rather not challenge them.
They'd prefer that the Huskies put the ball in basket rather than clank a lot of shots and supply big rebound opportunities.
"I just knew it was winning time," Roberts said.
He finished with 10 points for a double-double and his backboard efforts enabled the Huskies to rush back from a 16-point deficit to lead briefly, at 52-51, before falling back in the opener.
Roberts and his reconfigured Husky team will try it again for a positive result tonight against Northern Arizona in a game that tips off at 7:30 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The big man and 6-foot-6 Jamal Bey are the only holdover starters from a 5-21 team, now trying to make things respectable again with the help of seven new teammates.
Roberts, who is offensively challenged, is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the starting lineup, which for him will be defense and rebuilding. He has 6-foot-10 true freshman Jackson Grant, a highly regarded recruit from Olympia, Washington, pushing for playing time. So he has to do something exceptional to fend off the newcomer.
His 19 rebounds were six more than his previous best, which he accumulated at Utah last season.
They matched Isaiah Stewart's career-best rebound outing two seasons ago, plus those of Paul Fortier and Todd MacCulloch.
The Husky standard for backboard work came 59 years ago from the 6-foot-7 Corell, then a junior forward from Alameda, California, who credited his good fortune with just being in the right place at all times.
"I was just there when the ball came off the backboard or rim," said Corell, who collected 18 rebounds in the second half alone. "I just happened to be in the right place. I didn't do anything different than any other game. Sometimes they just fall your way."
Corell's 30 rebounds still ranks fourth all-time in the Pac-12 record book, trailing only Swede Halbrook's 36 for Oregon State, and Halbrook and Jim Loscutoff's 32 for Oregon, all in 1955.
The most All-America center Bob Houbregs had in his stat-heavy career for the Huskies was 22 rebounds against Utah in 1953. UW center Steve Hawes has come the closest to breaking Corell's longstanding record, grabbing 28 rebounds against Stanford in 1972.
"I'm amazed that any record stands that long, but it still does and I'm grateful for that," said Corell, who also supplied 23 points against Oregon for a weighty double-double effort that night.
He was at his best again with a 16-point, 21-rebound game at the Los Angeles Classic in a 59-49 defeat to No. 1-ranked Ohio State, a team featuring future NBA players Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and Larry Siegfried.
Roberts would prefer to put the Huskies back into winning ways rather than pile up big rebound totals.
TOP UW REBOUNDERS
30 — Ed Corell vs. Oregon, 2/24/62.
28 — Steve Hawes at Stanford, 1/8/72.
26 — Dean Parsons vs. Idaho, 1955;
22 — Bob Houbregs vs. Utah, 12/5/53; Jim Coshow vs. Iowa, 12/27/55; Steve Hawes vs. Stanford, 2/26/72; 22 Noah Dickerson, Eastern Washington, 11/12/17.
21 — Detlef Schrempf vs. Idaho, 12/17/83; Todd MacCulloch vs. Arizona State, 1/8/98; Todd MacCulloch vs. UCLA, 1/31/99; Dean Parsons vs. Oregon, 2/18/1954.
20 — Doug McClary vs. St. Louis 12/15/51; George Irvine vs. Montana, 1/31/69; Steve Hawes vs. Oregon, 2/28/70; Steve Hawes vs. Montana, 12/12/70; Steve Hawes vs. Seattle Univ., 12/4/70; Larry Pounds at Washington State, 3/9/74; Todd MacCulloch vs. Arizona State, 2/29/96.
19 — Nate Roberts vs. Northern Illinois, 11/9/21; Isaiah Stewart vs. Oregon, 1/18/20; Paul Fortier vs. Arizona, 2/12/83; Todd MacCulloch vs. New Mexico State, 12/19/98; Todd MacCulloch vs. California, 2/20/99.
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