Washington (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12) is riding season-high three-game losing streak, but coach Lorenzo Romar isn’t panicking.
He’s reciting history.
“In the 10 years we’ve been here, three of those years we’ve been 14-4 in the league and we won the league twice when we were like,” he said Monday during his weekly radio show. “We missed winning the league once by one game.
“In other years, including two Sweet 16 years we lost three games in a row in conference and we were able to come back. A couple of guys played more. Some guys played less. We finally got it. We finally caught on and went on to play good basketball. So we’ve been able to come back before.”
Despite being fifth in the Pac-12 and three games behind conference leader Oregon (18-2, 7-0) with 11 regular-season games remaining, Romar isn’t going to write Washington’s obituary as Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Sunday.
Here’s a few notes and quotes from Romar’s show:
— On allowing several transition baskets to Oregon, Romar said. “We weren’t as organized as we should have been in that game and that’s my fault. There’s no excuse. It’s unacceptable. I should have had the guys more organized in defensive transition. It’s something that we talked about, but obviously we didn’t do a good enough job getting it across.”
— Romar said UW’s problems at Oregon were 1.) Poor defensive transition. 2.) Allowing middle penetration. 3.)Turnovers (21).
— Romar said the Huskies gave a “lackluster effort” in the early minutes against Utah and Oregon State. He also said: “I don’t think that will happen again where we don’t respect our opponent.”
— Romar thinks Utah will win another game. The Utes only Pac-12 victory is 74-65 upset at Washington.
— Asked to define UW’s problems, Romar said the Huskies didn’t have the proper intensity and focus against Utah and OSU. Against Oregon, he said: “We played harder, but we didn’t play smarter and that was the difference.”
— In the past two games, Washington has committed 21 and 15 turnovers, which is a cause for concern.
— Romar said: “We know how to do it, we just need to get back to it.”
— On Abdul Gaddy, Romar noted the senior point guard struggled shooting in three games prior to last week’s road trip. Against OSU, he was 6 of 12 for 14 points. Against Oregon, he was 4 of 7 for 13 points. “He’s starting to regain his touch,” Romar said. “Let’s hope that trend continues.”
— Romar also noted when Gaddy scores, he tends to have high turnovers games. He had three against OSU and five versus Oregon.
— UW had problems handling Oregon’s defense. Romar described the difference between applying pressure and using a press. He said: “Pressure is what we try to do. When we’ve been really good at it, we would start games out where the scores would literally be 19-2 because teams aren’t able to run their offense because you’re on top of the passing lane. You’re on top of your man. They can’t pass to anyone. While that’s going on, you’re applying a lot of pressure on the basketball. That can make it tough for a team to try to get into offense. That’s pressure basketball and that’s what they were attempting to do with us.
“In the second half, they went into a full-court press. They had the 3/4-court press with the 1-2-1-1 where they try to slow the ball up and they’re not really trying to steal it. But where they hurt us was with the (inaudible) where they pick you up full court and try to trap you in the corner and get you to turn it over. It’s something we faced against with several teams. Seattle U did it almost the entire game and we handled it pretty good. But in this particular time. There was one missed/bad pass and they scored off of it. The next time, we couldn’t get the ball inbound. But that’s the difference between pressure and the press.”
— Romar said: “I don’t think we controlled the game at any point. They probably felt that they controlled the game more than we did. … It was one of those, whoever decided to defend was going to win the game.”
— Romar laments almost every game this year has been decided in the last few minutes.
— On Andrew Andrews, Romar said: “If you don’t know and you’re just watching our team play, you’d say he’s one of the leaders of the team just how he’s handling his business out there. He’s just going to continue to get better. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. That’s one of the reasons why I think we can get better.”
— Romar likened Andrews’ attitude and ability to get to the rim to former UW star Isaiah Thomas. Still, Romar said Andrews is still learning the college game and had been turnover prone early in the season. In two of the past three games, he’s scored 17 and 15 points.
— On Shawn Kemp Jr., Romar said: “Shawn went out and did some of the things we expected him to do. He finished some nice finishes, but what he did I thought was played pretty good defense. He worked. Shawn’s biggest issue at times is he’s maybe not as alert as he needs to be. But he was against Oregon. And he rebounded. He got traffic rebounds. He pulled down six rebounds in 21 minutes. That’s a little more than one every three minutes and that’s the mark. When you can get a rebound every three minutes, you are a very good rebounder.”
— On Desmond Simmons, Romar said: “We know that he can make baskets. We might be overcoaching Desmond and making him think too much when he’s going out there playing. We try to continue to praise him and encourage him on what he really does well defending and rebounding. If he turns it over a couple of times too many, we might be overcoaching him and taking his initiative away a little bit. He’s going through it right now. He’s his worst critic. He just needs to come out of that and get back to where he’s just lost in the game and rebounding and doing all of the little things.”
— Romar believes the NCAA will make it more difficult for players who transfer to play immediately. He supports the rule that makes players to sit out at least a year if they change school. He also thinks players should be able to transfer without penalty if their coach leaves.
— Romar acknowledge cheating happens in college basketball just as “people bend the rules” in other professions. He said: “It’s a great, great challenge for me as a head coach to try to be successful without breaking the rules and to show people we’re going to do this the right way and we’re still going to make this work. That is a great challenge for me to try to get that done.”
— Romar said leading scorer C.J. Wilcox is a “marked man,” and one way to alleviate the pressure is for others to step up and make shots.
— Aziz N’Diaye was shooting 68.3 percent before the Oregon game. He was 3 of 5 against the Ducks for seven points. Romar said: “We made it very clear to our team that we want that ball to go inside from here on out.”
— Romar acknowledged Washington doesn’t get many many easy buckets. “We’ve not been in transition NEARLY as much as we’d like to be,” he said. “Some of that has to do with us not really applying the defensive pressure that we would like. That has a lot to do with it. Sometimes our push isn’t where it needs to be. We need to get back to where we were in both of those areas so that we can run.”
— On the rivalry against Arizona, Romar said: “I want to say there’s been one game in the last three years that has not gone down to the buzzer. Something like that, one or two. Just about everyone goes down to the last shot. We know Darnell Gant at their place a couple of years ago goes up for the layup and the controversial goaltending that they didn’t call depending on if you’re an Arizona fan or a Washington fan. Then Isaiah Thomas hits the shot at the buzzer. Then Tony Wroten blocks the shot from Josiah Turner at the buzzer. There’s just been some great ball games.”