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February 23, 2008 at 8:17 PM

ASU post-game

If they bothered to do a highlight film for this Washington Husky season, the perfect theme song would be that old Bruce Springsteen tune, “One Step Up.”
You may remember the chrous — “one step up and two steps back.”
That’s what the Huskies have done all year — following the LSU win with three losses to start Pac-10 play; three straight Pac-10 wins with four straight losses; the UCLA win with the dud at Oregon.
And today, a collapse against Arizona State less than 48 hours after the win over Arizona.
“I wish I could tell you why,” said UW forward Jon Brockman. “I have no idea.”
This felt like the most devestating reversal of the season. As we’d pointed out earlier, UW could have moved into fifth with a win and the right combination of other results elsewhere.
Instead, UW remains tied for eighth with Oregon and now facing a hard road just to get to any type of post-season.
Consider that the Huskies are now 15-13 and guaranteed only four more games — at Cal, at Stanford, at WSU and in the Pac-10 tournament.
A win today would have put UW four games over .500 and assured at worst a .500 record through the Pac-10 Tournament. Now, UW needs to win one of the next three to avoid entering the Pac-10 tournament with a losing record and needing to win two games there to avoid having a losing record for the season. While there figure to be more post-season opportunities than ever thanks to the new CBI, it’s still hard to envision anyone would rush to invite a team with a losing record and an eighth or ninth place conference finish.
This team has done a nice job of seeming to come together when things have seemed particularly bleak — the win over UCLA after the three straight losses at home, for instance.
But while this hasn’t been a great home team — UW finishes 12-6 at home and just 4-5 at in Pac-10 play — it’s still better than on the road. Washington’s 2-4 on the road in Pac-10 play with the four losses coming by double-digits in games that were rarely competitive.
So a lot was lost today, and it was lost decisively as ASU dominated from the start.
ASU controlled the tempo throughout, using its zone to force the Huskies into some impatience on offense and breaking them down on defense to set up numerous open three-pointers. ASU hit 13-25 from beyond the arc.
“With that zone, instead of attacking the middle, I think the first 10 minutes especially, we shot a lot of outside shots,” Brockman said. “At times we are going to have to just pass up a good shot to get an even better shot and maybe be patient, and we weren’t patient tonight.”
The Huskies shot 35.5 percent (hitting 22-62), the seventh-time this year UW has been held under 40 percent, and the sixth time in 15 Pac-10 games. It was UW’s worst shooting at home this season and in what is kind of an amazing stat, the Huskies haven’t shot better than 48 percent in any Pac-10 home game this season.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar, meanwhile, lamented that ASU was able to “penetrate and then draw-and-kick. That’s what got us tonight and that’s what got us against Oregon (when UW was also killed by the three-pointer with the Ducks hitting 14-25).” The Huskies leave themselves open to that a little bit when they help off a lot on defense and that’s what seemed to happen today.
UW also had obvious troubles defending James Harden, who is a hard-guard for any team and was healthy again after battling a bad back two nights ago in Pullman and a sore groin when the Huskies beat the Sun Devils in Tempe last month.
“Seeing him play so many times, I knew there was a difference then,” Romar said.
It all left Brockman wondering again what’s wrong with this team.
“I don’t know why we didn’t come out to play,” he said.
Something he’s been forced to say far more than he’d hoped for this year.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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