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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 2, 2008 at 7:31 PM

Cal post-game

Crash.
Was that the sound of the season falling by the wayside?
UW coaches and players insisted afterward it wasn’t, but hard to ignore the ramifications of Saturday’s loss to Cal.
UW has four home games remaining in the second half of Pac-10 play, and one comes next Sunday against UCLA, a contest it’s hard to figure the Huskies can win right now.
So the schedule won’t be a friend in trying to overcome this 3-6 conference hole, though one of the most ominous aspects of this weekend for the Huskies is that even the home court advantage no longer appears to have the mystique on opponents it has the last few years.
Still, you wouldn’t expect anyone in purple to throw in the towel, and nobody was after a 79-75 loss to Cal that dropped UW into ninth place in the Pac-10, though some admitted this is a critical time.
“I think me, as well as Ryan (Appleby) and Tim (Morris), the seniors, we’ve got to make sure that everyone keeps focused on the right things,” said Jon Brockman, who is ailing from a groin strain suffered in practice Monday and admitted it impacted his play against the Bears.
“It’s not easy. It’s more likely now for people to start falling off. We’ve got to make sure we all stay together and that doesn’t happen.”
Brockman pointed as an example to Saturday’s victor, Cal, which a week ago was coming off three straight home losses that had many in Berkeley declaring the season done but rebounded nicely by sweeping its trip to Washington.
“There’s going to be a hot team next week, going to be a different team,” he said. “We’ve got to do what we can to make sure we are that hot team.”
UW coach Lorenzo Romar, in situations like this, can at least draw on experience, such as the 2004 squad that started out 0-5 in Pac-10 play and finished 12-6.
Romar said he thinks this team is more together than that team was when it struggled early.
“That team was more talented than this team, but this team, just in terms of being together is probably more together than that team,” Romar said. “That other team just had an innate hunger to win, to compete, it just wasn’t as cohesive and in unison.”
But eventually that team found that cohesive and unity to allow that talent to flourish.
The harsh truth about this team is that it may simply not be as talented as is necessary to get out of this valley.
Asked what the Huskies have to do better in the second half of the Pac-10 season, Romar interestingly said “we’ve just got to continue to work and find ways to score.”
For most of the year, Romar has pointed to defense as the team’s biggest issue, saying he was confident the points would eventually come.
But while the defense has slipped a little of late (Cal shot 50 percent), the offense has really been a struggle in recent games — UW has shot better than 48 percent in Pac-10 play just once (a misleading 52 percent in the blowout loss at Arizona last week) and has been held to 43 percent or lower seven times.
UW is shooting 41.7 percent in Pac-10 play, and less than 31 percent from the three-point line.
And then there are the free throw issues — UW is now shooting an even 59 percent for the season and 56.7 percent in Pac-10 play from the line.
Romar held the team in the locker room longer than usual afterward — 15 minutes or so — going so long he had to head straight to his radio show before his regular meeting with the rest of the media (he caught up to us afterward).
Asked what he told them, he said “just the main message is we are in it for the long haul. … You can’t look at this and start to look elsewhere. You’ve got to rally up and come back.”
NOTES
— As noted above, Brockman said his groin injury was a factor in his play today — he had a season-low four rebounds. But he also said he doesn’t think it’s a long-term issue.
Artem Wallace’s 17 points, 10 rebounds and 33 minutes were all career-highs.
— Everybody played in this one with Justin Holiday playing most of the last six minutes to defend against Patrick Christopher after he got hot. Holiday seemed to do a good job though Christopher hit the last three-pointer over him anyway.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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