PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Thanks to Quincy Pondexter, even the supposedly vulnerable Washington Huskies didn't go out early.
Pondexter scored a season-high 23 points and fourth-seeded Washington took advantage of early foul trouble to Mississippi State's menacing Jarvis Varnado to race past the 13th-seeded Bulldogs 71-58 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
Jon Brockman had 14 rebounds and 10 points for the Huskies (26-8), who looked far better than the last time they played in this city, losing to Portland of the West Coast Conference to begin the season.
Barry Stewart had 11 points but was able to get off just five shots for Mississippi State (23-13), which reached the NCAAs for the sixth time in eight years by winning six consecutive games -- including four in its surprising romp to the Southeastern Conference tournament title.
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