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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 25, 2006 at 12:54 PM

A crazy night

I don’t even know where to begin after that one.
But I’ll start with this — that was one of the gutsiest efforts of any team I’ve ever seen.
There’s no doubt UConn has more physical ability than Washington.
But Jamaal Williams just kept finding a way to score inside, and Justin Dentmon and Brandon Roy and Bobby Jones just kept finding a way to make UConn’s guards turn the ball over (Marcus Williams had seven by himself).
Jamaal’s game was simply incredible — 27 points and seven rebounds (each team highs) along with four steals, two blocks, one assist and just two turnovers in 29 minutes.
Everyone says he has no shot at the NBA due to his height, but that has to have opened some eyes.
The big topic on this board, however, has been the officiating.
I tend to tread carefully on these matters — I don’t believe in conspiracies. And none of these refs have anything to do with either team or conference (two work primarily in the Big Ten as one poster here noted).
That said, there were some awfully strange calls and I don’t think there’s any doubt that the officials failed at what I’ve always heard is an official’s main job — to not be noticed. The boos as they left the floor made that clear.
These guys were noticed from the first minute of the game, calling a combined 54 fouls — 33 on UW. Washington’s previous high this year was 29 in the double-overtime loss at home to Arizona. I thought Justin Dentmon said it right — they were just too involved. These kinds of games are going to be intense and stuff like the double technical on Brandon Roy, the third foul on Jon Brockman when he bumped the guy heading down the court, the fifth foul on Dentmon when Marcus Williams fell down — those just don’t need to be called in this type of game.
But I’m not going to accuse officials of bias or think they were favoring anybody for any reason.
Instead, I think it’s officials worrying too much about keeping control of the game — anticipating that it will be emotional — and setting a trend early by calling everything. I also think they did a lot of anticipating in this game that since UW was the shorter team, when UW players got tangled up inside with UConn, the foul inevitably had to be on the smaller guy.
It’s also possible that they were influenced a bit by Jim Calhoun’s rant at halftime — UW had 14 fouls in the first half to UConn’s nine, an edge that was more pronounced in the second half and overtime (UW had 19 fouls after halftime while UConn had 12).
That said, Washington had a lot of chances to win the game.
When the Huskies were up 80-76 with 21 seconds left on two free throws by Dentmon — who again showed an uncommon moxie for a freshman — I thought it was over, though I should have known better after seeing the Gonzaga game the night before.
But Mike Jensen fouled Marcus Williams on that drive and Rashad Anderson simply hit two huge shots.
I’ve seen some criticism of Romar for not defending that last play in regulation differently. But as we all should know by now, his philosophy is not to foul in that situation of being up three and time running out. Frankly, I’m not sure I always agree with that. But considering UConn’s rebounding skill and the way the game was being called, there probably was as much of a chance this time of something bad happening by fouling as there was of Anderson hitting another three-pointer.
“They hit a great shot and in overtime they made the plays,” Roy said.
That was a typical remark by the always classy Roy, who could have complained a lot more than he did about the little dust-up with Rudy Gay.
Asked what he told his team after the game, Romar said this:
“We talked to our group about keeping their heads high because we had nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve talked from day one, when you walk off the floor, you need to be able to answer: Did I do everything in my power to do the best job that I can do? Whether you won or lost the game is irrelevant at that point. Today we lost the game, but there’s nothing that we (as coaches) could say because we laid it all out there.”
NOTES
• The focus now shifts to the future. Check our paper Sunday and on-line for a look at next season and we’ll have more on the blog as well in the days ahead.
• Cameron Dollar isn’t going to get the Idaho job as Jim Meehan reports here.
• And it also appears as if Jim Shaw won’t get the Montana State job, as this report here says.
• Thanks to everyone for all the great comments of late. This blog was an experiment this year and I think it’s one that worked, in large part because of the participation of a lot of loyal fans out there.

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