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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 13, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Tuesday notes

One of Lorenzo Romar’s greatest strengths as a coach may be his ability to stay on an even keel — keeping things in perspective, so to speak.
So anyone thinking he was knocked off course by the tough loss on Saturday hasn’t been paying attention.
Instead, when he met with the media today it was business as usual.
“I don’t think we change a whole lot,” Romar said. “There’s no reason to go back to the drawing board or start to panic. We’ve been doing a pretty good job.”
Romar said that was the exact message he sent to his team Monday, admitting he thinks a few players were watching to see how the coaches would react. But Romar said the last thing that would have made sense was a “three-hour practice” and “beating down” his players.
Instead, they went to work trying to fix some of the things that ailed his team down the stretch Saturday, then began looking ahead to this weekend’s trip to the Oregon schools.
“They were all in a good mood,” he said of Monday’s practice. “They were in very good spirits.”
Preamble aside, then, on to some notes and quotes from today’s media session:
— Romar said injured guard Elston Turner has a better chance to play this week but that he isn’t yet ready to say he will see action. Turner is officially listed as questionable with a high ankle sprain suffered against Morgan State.
— Romar said the three main areas of improvement needed after the Cal game are offensive execution, free throw shooting, and getting defensive stops. Of the three, Romar said defense was the main culprit down the stretch, especially in regulation.
— Romar was asked about the apparent slow-down approach in the final six minutes of regulation and he pointed out (similar to what I detailed in an entry yesterday) that he thought the team got good shots almost every time, save for the one turnover. “We pretty much got lay-ups and free throws and that’s what you want,” he said. “I’ll take that every day of the week.” Romar said he didn’t think his team ever passed up a fast-break opportunity and wasn’t instructed not to break. Instead, the plan was simply to be patient and take good shots on the offensive end, and he felt his team did that.
— In fact, Romar compared it to Portland State game when the Vikings made a big rally in the final minutes in a game UW ended up winning by just one, 84-83. He said in that game, UW did take some quick shots which he thought enabled the Vikings to rally. “They were able to get in a rhythm because they were getting the ball right back,” he said.
— Romar said that ultimately, when he looked at the last few minutes, he thought the keys were making free throws, not turning the ball over and getting defensive stops. “We executed one of the three,” he said, referring to the lack of turnovers.
— On the Isaiah Thomas foul late in the game, Romar said he thinks Thomas simply got caught up in the action and “didn’t look to box out.” Romar noted that Thomas is a freshman going through the Pac-10 rigors for the first time and that “at that point in the game, I don’t know if Isaiah’s ever been in a position to have to box out. … It’s a shame that happened because he had been electrifying everyone for a lot of that game. It’s a shame so much focus has been put on that. But it happened.” (By the way, I talked with Thomas a little afterward and I’ll pass that along later).
— In terms of late-game strategy, Romar said he is giving greater thought to fouling when up by three late in the game, and that it’s not something he’ll simply never do — as has pretty much been the case previously. He said he could see a situation where he might want to do it. But he said that obviously wasn’t his thought Saturday and noted that Patrick Christopher’s late-game three-pointer missed wildly.
— Asked for a mid-season assessment of his team he said “we’re about close to what we would have expected. We had a slower start than I would have expected but since then I’ve been pleased. We’re not where we were but we’re not where we need to be.”
— Asked again about Jon Brockman’s free throw issues, he reiterated that he thinks fatigue could be playing a part and that he has tried to get Brockman a little more rest early in games at times as a result. Brockman is averaging 29.9 minutes, which is not among the top 10 players in the Pac-10. Romar said simply that “we’ll continue to work on it (Brockman’s free throw shooting)” and doesn’t yet think it’s to the point where it’s a real big mental thing that has to be addressed.
— Brockman is seven rebounds away from tying and eight from breaking the all-time UW career record held by Doug Smart. Brockman has 1,044, meaning he’s almost certain to get it on the Oregon trip, likely Thursday night against the Ducks.
— There’s no news on rescheduling the Lehigh game. As stated previously, if it is rescheduled, it will likely be with another opponent.
More later, including some thoughts from Romar on why Quincy Pondexter took the last shot of regulation.

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