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Husky Men's Basketball

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March 24, 2009 at 3:49 PM

A little Purdue review from Romar

Had a chance to talk a while today with UW coach Lorenzo Romar, looking both back and ahead, and as I did last year, I’ll parcel it out a little bit in stages instead of one long entry.
But most noteworthy today were his thoughts a few days later on what proved to be the season-ending loss against Purdue.
Asked for a general assessment of what happened against the Boilermakers, Romar said: “What happened was we faced about as solid of a team we as we have faced all year. They may not have been the best team, but they were as solid of a team, and whenever we made a mistake, offensively or defensively, they capitalized on it. And that’s what it came down to in the first half — there were more mistakes than in the second half, and they had a bigger lead.
“Our shot selection was better in the second half, and in the first half it wasn’t as good, and even then there were times we missed a box-out or a defensive assignment and many times they capitalized on it. Where sometimes we would make mistakes and other teams wouldn’t capitalize on it, Purdue did. There was just very little margin for error. And with us not hitting a lot of outside shots, there just again wasn’t a lot of margin for error. We only turned the ball over nine times but those turnovers, they made us pay. And they didn’t have 30-40 offensive rebounds, but the ones they had, they capitalized on. They had five offensive rebounds in the first half but they scored 11 points on them. A lot of things like that.”
Another thing that helped the Huskies in the second half was the presence on the court of Elston Turner, which helped open up the middle of the Purdue defense. Turner played 15 minutes in the second half, taking the minutes usually played by Justin Holiday, who didn’t play at all in the second half.
“I thought going into the second half that they weren’t the type of offensive team that ‘man, there just is not any way we can guard these guys.’ And I felt we needed to be able to score against them and I felt that Elston gave us a better offensive flow, number one, but number two, we needed someone on the floor that they had to guard.”
Romar said Purdue was playing similarly to USC in packing it in and leaving a player or two open for shots outside and UW needed more of a threat from the outside, something Turner provided even if he scored only three points.
“It opened up a lot of opportunities for us because everyone was being guarded when Elston was in the game,” Romar said.
Much has been made in some quarters of the officiating. Romar admitted “it surprised me” that there was a Big Ten official doing the game, much as it had to see Pac-10 official Dave Libbey doing the Mississippi State game — there apparently is no rule against it, but it just simply had not been done in prior years. New NCAA coordinator of officials John Adams has apparently decided he doesn’t think it matters if officials work games in the tournament of the same conference they work all season — there was also a WCC ref doing one of Gonzaga’s games.
Romar, however, said “I didn’t think it was an issue in either game.”
While fans have complained about some calls, Romar said “there’s not many games you can’t look and say that call or this call” could have impacted things, and he knows fans at Purdue probably think similarly.
“There was nothing totally out of the ordinary,” he said. “And whatever it was, it wasn’t enough to determine the outcome of the game. We had more of a role in determining the outcome of the game than the officials did, as did Purdue.”
Another debated issue by fans in the aftermath was Romar’s decision not to call time out when UW got a rebound with 22.8 seconds left, trailing by two. Isaiah Thomas drove for a layin that missed at the 18.8 mark and Purdue then put the game away at the free-throw line.
Romar said he thought about calling time out but ultimately decided that he thought UW could get a better shot in transition than it might get after a time out, which would also allow Purdue to set its defense.
“You look at the shots that we got all night,” he said. “You call time out, you may have ended up with that same shot, but you may not have. …
“What struck me was it was an open floor and he (Thomas) had a chance to get into the lane. That’s what hit me, and you’d hate to stop it and take away a shot in the lane and call time out and now you come out on the floor and let’s say you decide to go to (Jon) Brockman and they double Brock. In that situation, he (Thomas) had room to create and he got a four-foot shot.
“In practice, we practice that where you get it to the basket.”
The team is now off for spring break, but players will hold meetings with coaches next week when they return. Coaches will attend the Final Four the following week (an event that doubles as the annual coaches convention), and the team will begin its offseason workouts program after the Final Four.

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