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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 30, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Back to work

After their first loss in five games, the Washington Huskies got quickly back to work today, hitting the floor at the Student Recreation Center at Arizona State for a one hour, 20-minute practice this afternoon (ASU’s main floor was off-limits due to a gymnastics meet).
The seriousness of the preparation was evident in the sight of two UW staffers standing guard outside the doors trying to keep curious ASU students from peering in.
“We were trying to concentrate,” explained UW coach Lorenzo Romar, who said the two took it upon themselves to play lookout. “(This is a practice) that we have to really not be distracted. There can be no distractions at this practice today because we have really a day to prepare for a team (Arizona State) that is totally different than the one we played last night (Arizona). So in terms of paying attention to detail, it’s very important.”
Indeed, while UA took every opportunity to run Thursday night in a 106-97 win over the Huskies in Tucson, ASU will play a more deliberate style on offense, trying to set things up for explosive guard James Harden, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 22 a game.
But Romar said Saturday’s game will be as much about UW as it is ASU.
After Friday’s practice, he again said that he just felt the focus and concentration weren’t t there against Arizona as they had been in earlier games this season.
He was then asked if he thought that was because the Huskies were newly ranked after beating UCLA:
“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “It’s a tough one because you guard against it. We addressed it all week and we tell our guys. I don’t think it was as much playing cool but feeling like ‘whenever we are ready we will get it done.’ But that’s not the makeup of our team to pick and choose when to turn it on.”
As was obvious by the score, the biggest issues were on defense.
“We left shooters alone when we shouldn’t have, guarded non-shooters when we shouldn’t have, guarded non- shooters when the shooters were wide open, stuff lke that,” Romar said. “And then the inability to keep Nic Wise out of the paint really broke our back. And in the first half we missed box outs and that hurt us. When you have that many breakdowns in that many areas, that’s a team issue that particular night. It wasn’t
just one guy, it was a team thing.”
Asked what the problem was against Wise, Romar again pointed to the focus:
“We’ve got to do a better job of concentrating and focusing,” Romar said. “It’s not like he’s averaging 29 points a game. He’s a good player, but he doesn’t do that to everybody. He’s a good player, no doubt about that. But again, I thought it was a reflection of our team last night that we did not have the total focus that we have had.”
He then made a comparison to how Jerryd Bayless lit up UW in Tucson with the Huskies then rebounding to beat Arizona at home a few weeks later.
“We didn’t focus here like there last year, same thing,” he said.
— Romar said the late-game small lineup was just “a game adjustment” made to try to get back in the game. UW spent most of the last 10 minutes with four guards on the floor alongside Jon Brockman. “It wasn’t something we went into the game saying this is something we are going to do,” he said. “We’re just tyring to find a way to win, mixing up the potions, seeing what you can invent. We wanted ballhandlers in there to deal with their press.”
— One of the casualties in that move was Darnell Gant, who tied a season low with nine minutes, and just two — the first two — of the second half. But again, Romar said it was just an attempt to match up with Arizona.
— On its way to Tempe from Tucson last night, the Huskies stopped at an In-and-Out Burger for a late-night snack. “That one’s worth the wait,” Romar said of a restaurant with a cult following in California and Arizona. “You don’t get that every day.”
All for now.

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