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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 4, 2007 at 11:14 PM

Great game, tough loss

Well, you have to admit it was at least entertaining.
And it should be noted that the three teams UW has lost to are now 8-1 in Pac-10 play.
But the Huskies obviously have some major issues, especially on the defensive end, which became evident as the coaches did two things they don’t normally do — play a zone defense and make major lineup changes.
As I detailed elsewhere, tonight’s change in starting lineup was the most significant for strictly performance reasons in some time.
Junior Ryan Appleby started in place of Justin Dentmon and freshman Phil Nelson replaced Quincy Pondexter, with UW coach Lorenzo Romar saying a shakeup was necessary in the wake of Sunday’s 96-74 loss at UCLA.
“We felt that we hadn’t had a very good start in the past couple of games and we wanted to get off to a good start,” Romar said. “Phil Nelson has been doing a good job for us (and) Appleby understands what we want more than anybody else out there.”
Pondexter reacted the way you’d hope, tying a career-high with 25 points off the bench. Nelson (career-high 16 points) and Appleby (31 minutes, much of it at point guard) also played well enough. But Dentmon continued to struggle, playing a career-low 14 minutes, just five in the second half.
Still, the players seemed to understand.
“If there was a message being sent, I think it got across,” said Spencer Hawes.
Still, none of that helped UW play any better defense. UW mixed up man and 2-3 zone in the first half, then went almost exclusively with the zone in the second half.
Arizona responded by hitting 16-21 shots in the second half, including 6-10 three-pointers.
Romar said “you could probably blame me for staying in the zone. I didn’t think we were doing a very good job in the man defense so I switched to the zone and they began to hit. We didn’t think that they would continue but they did. We took a gamble and we lost it.”
Also interesting tonight is that UW played just eight players, a season-low, with Hans Gasser getting just two minutes, meaning only seven players saw significant time.
Romar said afterward he wasn’t sure what lineup will start against Arizona State, and it’s likely that won’t be announced until Saturday.
That game now becomes a true must-win, however. UW’s first three Pac-10 losses all make sense, especially seeing how well USC is playing — the Trojans won at Oregon tonight. But UW absolutely has to beat Arizona State to maintain any claim to being an upper echelon team in the conference.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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