History said odds were against UW coming out on the winning side of this matchup. Entering the game, Lorenzo Romar-led teams were 2-12 in games played in the Eastern Time zone. Despite three home defeats this season, Washington (8-5) has been dominant at home the past few years. But there’s been serious questions about the team’s ability to win on the road.
Those concerns were heightened this season when Romar installed the high-post offense and built a team around a pair of standout jump shooters in C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs. When they’re hitting shots, UW can play with anybody.
But when they’re not, well games like the one inside the XL Center take place.
Washington scored a season low and shot a season-low 29.4 percent (19 of 64) from the field. It was UW’s lowest shooting percentage since shooting 29.2 percent on Nov. 24, 2008 vs. Kansas. The Huskies converted just 4 of 17 3-pointers (23.5 percent).
Wilcox was 2-12 from the field and 1 of 6 on three-pointers. He finished with a season-low five points, 14 below his average.
Suggs scored a game-high 15 points, but he needed 15 shots and missed 10. No one else scored in double figures.
Despite the woeful shooting, the Huskies were down five (50-45) with 7:26 left. But the cold shooting ultimately doomed them. Over the next 5:25 minutes, Washington didn’t score a point while UConn went on a 7-0 run.
During the stretch, UW missed six shots and committed two turnovers. When the Huskies finally ended the scoreless drought, they were down 57-47 with 1:59 left.
Connecticut distributed 12,720 tickets, but a snow storm kept fans away and only 6,000 or so were in the building. Before the game, UConn held a press conference to announce the five-year, $7 million extension given to coach Kevin Ollie.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
ROMAR POST-GAME QUOTES:
(Opening statement) “Give a lot of credit to UConn tonight. They did a nice job sticking it. Down the stretch, we probably turned the ball over more times than we would like. They did a good job sticking with what they were trying to do out there, trying to play together. Some of their defense bothered us a little bit. We didn’t shoot the ball. We didn’t shoot the ball well.”
“I want to congratulate Coach Ollie and his contract. He’s an awesome person and an awesome basketball coach.”
(On Wilcox) “I think they got into him early like most teams do. C.J. had some looks that he doesn’t normally miss. He’s such a good shooter. They were there early – a lot of shots were contested early – and then, after that, he got some wide open looks that he couldn’t make go down. But it wasn’t just C.J. That was the story of our team tonight.”
(On Gaddy’s foul trouble) “He’s our floor leader. You always want Abdul in the game. I thought Andrews came in and did a nice job in his absence. But you would always like to have your starting point guard in the game.”
(On rebounding) “Give UConn credit. They did a good job on the boards.”
HERE’S A FEW TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME:
— Washington has got to defend dribble drive penetration from smaller guards without fouling. This has been a problem since Isaiah Thomas left. In many ways Abdul Gaddy (eight points, six rebounds and two turnovers) held his own against Shabazz Napier (13 points, eight rebounds and seven turnovers). However, Gaddy fouled out in 23 minutes while Napier played 36.
— The free throw disparity is alarming for Washington. UW starters attempted just six free throws and made four. Washington was 11 of 16 at the line while Connecticut was 15 of 25. When you’re not making shots, you simply have to get to the line.
— Another strong rebounding performance from Desmond Simmons who had 10. It’s the fifth time this season he’s had double digit rebounds.
— Aziz N’Diaye appeared to mentally check out of the game after drawing an early foul, then spiking the ball which earned him another foul and a seat on the bench. He’s too good for that. It’s OK to show emotion and pick up a technical on a silly display of frustration, but he’s got to compose himself and regroup which never happened. N’Diaye was scoreless in 14 minutes and he had a season-low three rebounds.
— Washington received 19 points off the bench including nine points each from Andrew Andrews (above, right) and Shawn Kemp Jr. They might have been the best performers for UW on Saturday and it wouldn’t be surprising if they’re minutes increase next week.
— The road (literally) doesn’t get any easier for the Huskies. They travel to Pullman for next week’s Pac-12 opener before making a trip to the Bay Area for games at California and Stanford. If there’s any consolation for the Huskies, they’ve have been here before. Last season, they started 8-5 and fell to 8-6 before rallying for a 24-11 finish.