Fun interview with coach Lorenzo Romar today. He was surprisingly upbeat after a difficult loss.
Only a handful of media were on hand and we spent the first few minutes discussing the last shot in Thursday’s 69-66 defeat to California. Once again, Romar eloquently defended his decision to choose Darnell Gant to take the three pointer even though the senior forward missed all of his previous eight shots, including five three-point attempts.
Romar noted California wasn’t going to let Terrence Ross take a three-point shot, which explains why the Huskies turned to Gant, who has shooting 44 percent behind the arc in the past five Pac-12 games.
The Huskies had never run the ‘trail’ play that was called for Gant in a game. They got exactly what wanted with the exception of the shot not going in.
Romar addressed his technical foul late in the game and said: “The tech may have slowed (the momentum) a little bit. Made it a little tougher to come back even though we came back. Sometimes it can go the other way. … Maybe could have stayed away from that one at that point.”
Romar drew a technical while protesting a foul on Aziz N’Diaye.
“At the time I didn’t (it was a foul),” Romar said. “When I looked at it on film, you could have let it play but you cant’ chastise the officials for calling that.”
Washington (11-7, 4-2) is in a three-way tie with Arizona and Colorado for fourth place in the Pac-12.
Romar said: “We don’t have much margin for error that’s for sure.”
MORE NOTES …
— C.J. Wilcox (hip) won’t play Saturday, but Romar said he can make a full recovery this season. Still, the Huskies will monitor his minutes when he returns and it’s unlikely he’ll play 30-plus minutes. He’s averaging 31.5 minutes this season. Wilcox has sat out 11 days Friday and is starting to “feel really good,” Romar said. Wilcox underwent an X-ray Thursday and the leg has been responding to rest.
I asked Romar if he considered using Wilcox on the final play Thursday as a decoy. He replied: “That would have been sweet.”
— Freshman Hikeem Stewart has been “thrown into the fire” because of Wilcox’s injury and he’s yet to make a significant offensive contribution in the past two games. “It’s hard with Hikeem in that … the only minutes he been able to get all year have been at the end of the game,” Romar said. “He hasn’t played many minutes like this where every possession is monumental. So it’s tough throwing him in there in that situations. Sometimes you only improve by being thrown into the fire.”
Stewart was 0-3 Thursday and is 3 for 12 this season, including a few air balls. When asked if he shoots better in practice, Romar said” “He hasn’t shot the ball really well. There are times when he’s really hitting in practice. He’s had a couple of days where he wasn’t missing anything, but he hasn’t been as consistent as he would like to be shooting.”
— Romar said he’s planning to make adjustments to lessen the minutes on the starters. Abdul Gaddy and Terrence Ross played 38 minutes Thursday and Tony Wroten Jr. logged 36. “There are times when a couple of guys it wasn’t due to a lack of effort, they just ran out of gas,” Romar said. “They had nothing left in their tank last night at the end.”
— Romar said freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins is much more playable than he was last week. “Right now if he plays, we have to keep everything very vanilla,” Romar said. “We can’t do a whole lot different because he hasn’t learned it yet. But he’s getting closer. He has been impressive in practice though.”