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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 13, 2007 at 6:56 PM

Where to now?

I see I’ve already been chided for calling the Cal game a “must-win” and now saying that the Huskies can no longer afford any more losses.
I guess I felt the Cal game was a “must-win” in the sense that the Huskies needed it to still have a little margin for error to get into the NCAA Tournament. Now, it’s hard to see where the Huskies have any real margin for error at all.
What will help is that the Pac-10 is considered the best conference in the country, and at least six teams figure to get invites, if not seven.
On the other hand, the road to even a 9-9 conference record — which would seem the minimum for making the tournament — now seems pretty rugged. That game at Pitt Feb. 17 will take on even added importance now as that will be the one chance for UW to show that its struggles are due to the strength of the Pac-10 rather than ineptness.
But after this one, UW’s focus was on merely figuring out a way to win one game, let alone make the NCAA Tournament.
As might be expected, the Huskies were pretty down after this one, especially since they felt they lost it largely because Cal simply wanted it more and played harder.
Asked about the free throw Justin Dentmon missed at the end that could have won it for the Huskies, UW coach Lorenzo Romar said “that wasn’t the game.”
“We could talk about those free throws and if he makes them both we win the game,” the coach said. “But I’m telling you that when you look at the fact they had 18 points in second-chance shots, then you don’t have to (talk about that). We had an opportunity to not be in that situation. Cal deserved to win the game — they outworked us.”
UW players seemed at a loss to explain why the Bears would have outworked the Huskies when it seemed like the Huskies were the ones that had more to gain — or lose.
Dentmon said he thinks maybe the UW players have taken winning for granted and have forgotten what it takes to win.
“‘I think so,” he said when asked that very question. “I think a little bit of everybody did. I know I did at a point in time. Then you get a taste of losing and you begin to think that’s just a fairy tale, like it’s not true. You’ve got to out and play hard every time.
“It’s just little stuff throughout the game that we don’t key on doing. We just need to focus throughout the game. Sometimes we get off our game plan and we just have to stuck to the game plan.”
Players admitted they never thought they’d be in this situation.
“Obviously we are real surprised,” said UW center Spencer Hawes. “Our goal was to compete for the Pac-10 title.”
Hawes has been struggling with a virus of some sort that has caused him to lose at least 10 pounds, though he’s been trying not to use that as an excuse.
Whatever the case, he was definitely off his game today as he had just 13 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes and often seemed to force or rush bad shots, something he admitted afterward.
“I just got too caught up in it and started trying to do too much and that’s what happens,” he said.
As for the person asking about Romar’s record in overtime, he is now 3-9 in overtime as UW coach. That includes an 0-3 record in his first season, and another loss early in the 2003-04 season before the team began its turnaround.
UW has now lost its last five overtime games — two this season and all three last year, including the Sweet 16 game to UConn.

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