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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 29, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Arizona post-game

A little shot of back-to-reality for the Washington Huskies here tonight against Arizona after four games in which little went wrong.
“We just didn’t match their energy or their toughness tonight,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar after the Huskies fell to 15-5 overall and 6-2 in Pac-10 play.
The score indicated that clearly enough as Arizona scored a whopping 106 points, the most against UW since a different UA team scored 112 here in 1998.
“Our defense wasn’t like it usually was today,” said guard Isaiah Thomas.
The point total may be a little misleading — UW resorted to fouling at the end and the Wildcats scored 25 points in the last five minutes.
But the Huskies just couldn’t keep up with Arizona’s offense all night long.
“That’s not what got us to where we were,” said Jon Brockman. “That’s not how Washington basketball is played, and we’ve got to get back to just hustling and playing scrappy Washington basketball.”
The temptation is to think that maybe UW let its four-game winning streak and No. 23 ranking get to its collective head. No one outright said that was the reason, but everyone admitted that things felt a bit different tonight.
“Our team has a great balance of being somewhat loose, yet ready to play,” Romar said. “Tonight maybe they were more loose than normal. We’ve got to bring it every game.”
That UW wasn’t all there seemed evident early as Arizona jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, several times outhustling the Huskies to loose balls.
“Our inability to come up with the hustle plays killed us,” Romar said.
Interestingly, considering UW’s strength as a running team and superior depth, Arizona’s strategy tonight was to run with the Huskies.
“We wanted to try to push the ball,” said Arizona coach Russ Pennell. “When you do that, you can put more players in. We took a lot of good shots tonight.”
Arizona PG Nic Wise was particularly effective in that scheme as he had 29 points. “He controlled the game tonight,” Romar said.
The turning point of the game came at an odd time — when Arizona center Jordan Hill picked up his fourth foul with 14:40 to play and UA ahead just two. But the Wildcats immediately embarked on an 18-4 run that gave it a lead it never relinqushed.
UW went to a zone defense for a few plays after Hill went to the bench, and UA hit a couple of three-pointers as a result.
“That stretched our lead a little bit and it was like ‘we’re fine. Jordan’s out, but we’re good,”’ Pennell said.
UW used a small lineup of Brockman and four guards to get within three. But Arizona ultimately rebuffed the Huskies.
“We played decent toward the end there when we crawled back into the game a little bit,” Brockman said. “But we’ve got to play like that for 40 minutes, and not three at the end of the game.”
The obvious is that while UW has played well in running to the top of the Pac-10, the Huskies weren’t going to go undefeated the rest of the season. A few blips, especially on the road, were to be expected. The glass-half-full view is to point out that at least UW got back into it after that 16-point deficit, unlike the last two years when the Huskies fell down here and just got blown out. The Huskies again showed the increased versatility of their offensive weapons.
But this is the beginning of a tough four-game stretch of road games. As Romar said last week, UW could go to first to fourth in a heartbeat. So that puts the onus now on winning Saturday at ASU, which will also be trying to get off the mat after a surprising home loss to WSU.
While UW has struggled on the road the last few years, the Huskies have not been swept in the desert since Romar’s first season in 2003.
“We’ll bounce back,” Thomas said. “We’re so close as a team. We’re hungry, and now that we got a loss we’re even hungrier. We have to go out and try to get the win down there.”
— Brockman said he immediately apologized to Jamelle Horne for the intentional foul late in the game and said afterward he wasn’t trying to hurt Horne. “I’m not that type of a player,” Brockman said. “I’m never trying to hurt anyone. I just wanted to make a play on the ball and I got him with my body and those are two pretty big bodies colliding in the air running full speed. I apologized to him as soon as it happened and after the game I apologized to him again. That’s not me.”
Brockman said Horne “was ticked off. I’d be ticked off too. He hit pretty hard. But he’s a good guy and I just explained to him that it wasn’t intentional.”
— It appeared after that as if Chase Budinger might get into it with a few other Huskies after the Horne incident. Budinger explained later that “I was just sticking up for (Horne). He got fouled pretty hard and I know Brockman so I just went over to talk to him, but his team took it the wrong way.”
— Interesting moment after the game as a few of us waited outside the UW locker room, Lute Olson came walking down the hallway. He said hello to a few of us and shook hands with one reporter. He barely missed seeing Romar, who entered the hall just as Olson slipped from view.
— UIW hit a season-high 10 three-pointers in 26 attempts. The previous high was seven on a couple different occassions. But they all came from two players as Justin Dentmon was 7-12 (on a night he was 7-14 overall) and Elston Turner 3-6. Turner’s play might have been the brightest spot of the night for UW as he had 11 points in 14 minutes.
— Though I don’t think offene was UW’s problem tonight, worth noting that Thomas had a game in which he was more like a freshman than he’s had in a while, going 7-21 overall and 0-7 from the three-point line, as well as four turnoverse.
— Arizona hit 41-51 FTs to UW’s 13-20, but Romar attributed that Arizona’s penetrating and getting into the paint and UW fouling a lot late to get back in the game.
All for now as the drive to Tempe awaits.

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