Despite surrendering a season-high in points and committing 21 turnovers – another season high – coach Lorenzo Romar was encouraged with Washington’s effort during an 81-76 defeat at No. 16 Oregon.
“We did a lot of positive things and we had a heart beat,” he said. “If we have a heart beat, that’s what we’re talking about. Bring forth focus and effort and we’ll deal with the rest.
“I thought we brought more effort tonight.”
Romar’s comments illustrates just how far the Huskies have fallen since their 4-0 start in the Pac-12. He’s happy the players had the right approach going into the game. Considering their embarrassing performances in recent defeats to Utah and Oregon State, maybe that’s plus.
Still the improved effort didn’t sharpen UW’s execution on both ends of the floor.
The Huskies’ 21 turnovers led to 27 points for Oregon. Washington also allowed the Ducks to shoot 57.8 percent, which is the second highest for a UW opponent this season.
Romar said today’s defensive breakdowns were unlike any other game this season.
The Huskies were repeatedly beaten down the floor and failed to properly set their defense. Oregon had 10 fast-break points, including a Carlos Emory dunk after C.J. Wilcox missed a free throw. It’s almost unheard of to surrender a fast-break dunk after a FT attempt and yet, Emory swooped to the rim from the wing and flushed a windmill tomahawk jam.
“We were back (on defense), but we weren’t organized,” Romar said. “You not only have to be back against Oregon, you have to be in proper position or they find a weak spot in your defense and they burn you on it.”
Washington also had great difficulty keeping Oregon away from the rim.
E.J. Singler and Arsalan Kazemi did nice jobs spinning into the lane for short jumpers or layups.
“They drove us to the middle too much,” Romar said. “That’s something we talked about. We didn’t want that too happen. But they practice too. They work on that all the time. They were the better team tonight. They’re not the 316th team in the country. They’re No. 16 in the country and maybe better than that after this week. They’re a good basketball team.
“We knew we had a challenge. I thought our guys, with the exception of when they pulled away from us, I thought we played pretty good basketball.”
Oregon’s 37 free throw attempts are inflated because the Huskies intentionally fouled in the last two minutes to preserve the game. Still it’s interesting to note the Ducks made more fouls shots (27) than UW attempted (24).
But it’s not all gloom and doom.
Washington received a season-high 27 points from the bench. Andrew Andrews (above, near right) scored 15 points and Shawn Kemp Jr. had 12, which is the first time two reserves finished with at least 10 points.
It will be overshadowed by the defeat, but Washington snapped an eight-game streak of scoring fewer than 70 points. Turnovers aside, the Huskies had a nice night offensively once they got the shots up.
They shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent (8-12) on three-pointers. That’s the best UW has shot behind the arc this season.
Unfortunately, the Huskies were 14 of 24 (58.3 percent) at the free throw line.
Washington is also winless (0-3) at Matthew Knight Arena.
MORE NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— It sounds as if Andrews will remain a backup in the near future. However, if he duplicates Saturday’s performance a few more times, then it may not be too long before the redshirt freshman guard is promoted into the starting lineup. For long stretches, he was Washington’s best player. Andrews can turn nothing into something because he’s quick and strong enough to get to the rim. He’s also not afraid of contact and will draw fouls. Today he was 4 of 7 at the line. He also was 5 of10 from the field for 15 points. Andrews had four assists. It does without saying that he needs to cut down on the turnovers. Today he had three, which ties a career high.
Romar likes Andrews in his backup role. He says he receives starter’s minutes. Andrews played 27 minutes against Oregon.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. said he can build on his personal-best performance. Kemp finally got decent minutes – a career-high tying 21 – and he made the most of the time on the floor. The sophomore forward finished with 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting. He also had six rebounds. That’s the good part. The bad part is four turnovers.
— Abdul Gaddy may have put his shooting slump behind him. After scoring 14 Wednesday at Oregon State, he finished with 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting. It’s first time he’s had consecutive double-digit scoring outings since Dec. 22. Gaddy got to the line where he made 3 of 5 free throws. He was 2 of 3 on three-pointers. He committed five turnovers, which is never good. But he also had five assists and collected three steals and three rebounds. Gaddy also played good defense on Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd (nine points, five assists, five turnovers).
— Slow start for Wilcox. He saw several defenders and didn’t take a shot until less than nine minutes left in the first half. But when Wilcox got going offensively, he was fairly effective. He made 2 of 3 three-pointers and was 6 of 14 from the field for 14 points. Wilcox also had two turnovers in 36 minutes. In a strange twist, the junior guard was 0 for 2 on free throws. He’s shooting 75.4 percent at the line this season.
— A day after his coach said he needs to get more rebounds, Scott Suggs failed to grab a rebound for the first time this season. Not sure if he received the message. At some point he’s going to look up and realize his senior season is almost over. He’s waited so long for this chance to make significant contributions and you get the feeling he’s holding back for some reason. Suggs scored 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting. He was 3 of 3 behind the arc and 2 of 2 at the line. But the Huskies need a little more from their fifth-year senior co-captain. He also had two steals and two turnovers.
— Aziz N’Diaye (seven points, three rebounds and three turnovers) held his own against Tony Woods (eight points, three rebounds and four turnovers). It was interesting watching them trade baskets against one another or committing traveling violations. But neither center made much of an impact on the game.
— Desmond Simmons should watch video of this game over and over. He can learn a few tricks from Kazemi, the 23-year-old Iranian who got the better of their matchup. In many ways, it was an unfair battle. Simmons doesn’t have the experience to match Kazemi, a senior with international playing experience. Kazemi finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Simmons had six rebounds, two points, two steals and two turnovers.
— Jernard Jarreau played seven minutes in the first half.