You try figuring this team out. Sensational at home. Horrible on the road. It’s really that simple, but in many ways it doesn’t make sense.
There’s a scene in the film Hoosiers where Gene Hackman’s takes a tape measure to show his small town players that the basket was 10 feet off the ground in the spacious gym where the state title was played.
Feels like coach Lorenzo Romar needs to do something just a dramatic. Yeah it’s silly and it’s playing head games, Washington’s inability to win on the road this season is as much mental as it is physical.
Washington held a good Oregon team to 60 points and 32.3 percent shooting from teh field last week and tonight they allow Colorado to shoot 49.1 percent in an 87-69 defeat.
Same players. Same dimensions on the court. And entirely different results.
The Huskies lost control of this game late in the first half and they didn’t know how to regain command.
The same problems that occurred at Saint Louis were repeated. Hurried shots led to bad possessions, which led to long layups for Colorado and scoring opportunities for the Buffaloes.
The same problems that doomed them against Duke were repeated. No offensive rhythm. Too much one-on-one plays. They players didn’t share they ball. They made 27 field goals and finished with a season-low seven assists.
The same problems that led to an embarrassing home defeat to South Dakota State were apparent again. Defensive rotations were slow. The Huskies couldn’t contain Colorado’s guards and as a result played most of the second half with a zone defense without front line starters Aziz N’Diaye and Darnell Gant.
You got to wonder when the Huskies will snap its five-game losing streak. Utah was considered a gimme, but the Utes upset Washington State 62-60 in overtime. And where the Huskies are concerned, there’s no such thing as gimmes.
In 2009-10, the Huskies lost their first seven road games before winning seven straight, including three in the Pac-10 Tournament and two in the NCAA tournament.
It remains to be seen if Washington has a similar resolve this season.
Junior guard Abdul Gaddy said the team knows what it needs to do, but it’s just not happening.
“On the road we have to figure out that we’re going to have to grind out wins,” he said. “It’s not going to be a blowout or we’re going to score a lot of points. We’re not one of those teams that we’re just going to score (a lot) of points on the road. We got to know how to grind wins out and right now we don’t know how to do that. We don’t know how to physically just grind games out. When they’re not scoring and we’re not scoring. It’s even. We got to win those games.”
It’s also important to note only one Pac-12 team won a road game tonight. Washington wasn’t the only road favorite to fall. Others included: California at Oregon State, Arizona at UCLA, Stanford at Oregon and Washington State at Utah.
Photo credit: AP Photo – Cliff Grassmick
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Difficult picking a UW MVP tonight, but it’s hard to ignore Tony Wroten Jr.’s stat line. It’s awfully impressive even though at times, he hurt the Huskies as much as he helped them. This game only fuels the debate on whether he’s good for Washington. He scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He got to the line twice as much as anyone else, but missed 5 of 8 free throws. He finished with a career-high seven steals, six rebounds and three assists. You can’t fake that type of production. But he also had five turnovers and was beaten more than a few times with dribble penetration.
— C.J. Wilcox added 19 points on 6-for-16 shooting. Surprisingly, the Utah native admitted he was negatively affected by the high altitude. He said he was winded 4-5 minutes after entering the game. He was tired, which affected his legs. He shot 3 of 9 on three-pointers.
— Terrence Ross had one of the quietest double doubles that you’ve ever seen. Without N’Diaye and Gant, Washington needed every one of his 10 rebounds. The Huskies also needed his 13 points because too often the offense revolves around Wroten driving to the rack or Wilcox shooting a three. Ross took 15 shots and I must have missed half of them. He failed to get to the free throw line for a second straight game. He also had difficulty slowing down Carlon Brown, who led CU with 18 points.
— Feels like we must remember Desmond Simmons is a first-year player. Still, he’s taking more responsibilities each game. He’s being asked to score, rebound and defend. Teammates look to him for toughness and in many ways that’s unfair of somebody who has played just 14 games. Simmons did some good things tonight. He collected three offensive rebound and five total. He had six points and two steals. But he also had his hands full with Andre Roberson, who had 12 rebounds. Simmons did a good job holding Roberson to eight points. It’s the first time in seven games he failed to score in double figures.
— Not sure what happened to Gaddy. The box score says he played 33 minutes, but he failed to make an impact on the game in a positive way. It was a throwback to games he had earlier this season. Gaddy has to do more. If he has just one assists, Washington probably won’t win. He’s got to get more players involved. In fairness, guys like Wilcox and Ross were missing shots. Still Gaddy is the point guard, the co-captain and the three-year starter. These are the games he needs to shine the brightest. Shouldn’t expect freshmen such as Wroten and Simmons to lead the way.
— Gant also had a forgettable performance. He went 0 for 5 from the field and collected just four rebounds. He played 11 minutes in the first half and seven in the second. Gant is being phased out of the rotation, which is somewhat alarming for the fifth-year senior co-captain.
— N’Diaye struggled in many ways tonight. He had difficulties catching the ball and his jump hook appeared flat and out of rhythm. He was 1 of 4 from the field for two points. N’Diaye also had a season-low two rebounds.
— Not sure how Martin Breunig is going to get minutes if he can’t find ways to be productive. He was 0 for 4 in eight minutes. He had a layup blocked at the rim and missed another point-blank open layup. Breunig was slow on rotations and at times he looks unsure.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. played seven of his nine minutes in the second half. He had two points and two rebounds.
— Hikeem Stewart was scoreless in two minutes.