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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 10, 2006 at 10:44 AM

A win with an asterisk

The Huskies simply had to beat USC Thursday night to keep their NCAA tourney hopes alive. That they did by a score of 87-73 makes the night a success on its most basic level.
But there was no joy among the UW players and coaches afterward, all left disturbed by the fact that the Huskies blew all but nine points of a 27-point lead in the final 10 minutes of the game — continuing a trend of such lapses.
That led to a loud post-game talk afterward.
“They got on us,” said Mike Jensen. “I don’t know what it is and why we can’t shake it.”
UW coach Lorenzo Romar seemed more subdued than normal for a winning coach in his post-game media session, several times referring to how the Huskies almost let the lead get away and calling the habit of losing focus “frustrating.”
Remember, UW let double-digit halftime leads melt away in home losses to Arizona and WSU, played lax early at Cal in falling behind by 13 before coming back, had the last-second meltdown at Stanford, and led at halftime at WSU last week by five before losing by 13.
As Romar said, they can’t do any of that Saturday against UCLA and expect to win.
The other big story of the night was the change in the lineup, with Mike Jensen starting in place of Jamaal Williams. That had seemed like the most logical change to make and it sounds like it was the only one really seriously considered.
Williams gives UW some scoring off the bench and Jensen is used to starting. UW played well at the beginning of each half, so maybe it worked, though as Brandon Roy said, you’ve got to give it another game or two to really judge.
Williams, though, doesn’t seem to love the change. He said he’ll accept it because he has no choice, but his post-game comments indicated he isn’t embracing it just yet.
Despite all of that, I thought there were some encouraging signs. The 18 assists were the most since the win at USC last month, and the Huskies won the battle of the boards 38-24. Some of that is surely due to USC being one of the smallest teams in the conference, and missing one of its best players in Gabe Pruitt. Still, at least the Huskies were able to take advantage.
UW’s 3-point shooting was also a lot better at 6-of-17, and the scoring was balanced — there were five scorers in double figures for the first time since the win over Gonzaga.
The Huskies need to take the good of this game and eliminate the bad to have a chance against a UCLA team undoubtedly playing the best ball of any team in the Pac-10 right now.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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