Washington should learn Monday just much time redshirt sophomore forward Jernard Jarreau will miss after injuring his right knee in Sunday’s 88-78 season-opening win over Seattle University.
He went down in a heap with 18:25 remaining and didn’t return. It wasn’t pretty. After picking SU’s Isiah Umipig clean in the open court for a steal, Jarreau raced ahead for a layup. With Umipig providing tight defense, Jarreau stumbled as he left the floor. He pounded his fist on the floor and shouted: “It’s broken.”
With reserve center Robert Upshaw and UW trainer Pat Jenkins supporting him, Jarreau limped off the court.
During the postgame interview, coach Lorenzo Romar offered little in terms of a timetable on Jarreau’s return or how the Huskies will proceed before Thursday’s game against UC-Irvine presumably without the 6-10 power forward.
Senior forward Perris Blackwell, who missed the season opener due to a concussion suffered in last Wednesday’s exhibition, is expected to return. But it remains to be seen if UW pairs him with Shawn Kemp Jr., who started Sunday, or if Romar uses a four-guard lineup that included Mike Anderson.
Keep in mind, the Huskies are also missing junior forward Desmond Simmons (knee), who isn’t expected to return until mid-December at the earliest.
I asked Romar about the front court depth and he said: “You asked me when Desmond got hurt if we were thin in the rotation. I said if no one gets hurt. Well, now we’re slim up there. But if our guys can go compete and scrap like we did tonight, then we’ll be able to get through it.”
Considering the injuries, Romar said Sunday’s win was “one of the more special wins for me as head coach since I’ve been here.”
Seattle University coach Cameron Dollar made several fascinating in-game decisions such as frequently switching between a 3-2 zone and man-to-man defense, which confused the Huskies midway in the first half.
However, Romar made the most important coaching move weeks ago when he made referees a fixture at practice. The Huskies did a much better job adapting to how officials will call games this season. While the Redhawks committed 29 fouls that pushed Dollar into a running dialogue with the referees, Romar remained mostly silent and UW enjoyed a huge free throw disparity.
The Huskies converted 33 of 41 free throws and the Redhawks were 11 of 19 at the line. Washington scored 46 points in the second half and 24 came at the charity stripe.
Otherwise, the game was statistical standstill. Washington had more assists (14-9), but SU did a better job on the glass (41-37 rebounds). The Huskies led 14-7 in fast break points, but the Redhawks led 19-11 in second-chance points. UW forced more turnovers (13-9) and led 18-12 in points off of turnovers, but SU dominated 44-30 in points in the paint.
The Redhawks also shot better from the field (44.8 percent to 41.0) and on three-pointers (33.3 to 25.0).
The difference in the outcome – free throws and the Huskies ability to withstand the loss of two starters.
“What makes this one special is we were out there many times and were playing just on scrap, sheer will and determination,” Romar said. “Those are the wins that you love.”
Here’s the box score.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Sophomore guard Andrew Andrews didn’t have an assist or steal, which might be a derelict of duty on most nights. But without Blackwell and Jarreau, the Huskies desperately needed to replace their scoring and Andrews had a career night. He finished with a personal-best 21 points on 6-for-12 shooting, including two three-pointers. He also connected on 7 of 8 free throws.
— C.J. Wilcox missed his first five shots and it looked like he as going to have a disastrous performance. However, got going late in the first half and made his next three shots, including two three-pointers. He had 11 points in the half and a game-high tying 22 points. Perhaps more important, the 6-5 senior co-captain slid into Jarreau’s power forward when UW used its four-guard lineup. The Huskies may have inadvertently discovered a weapon Sunday with Wilcox in the middle of the high-post offense rather than on the perimeter. He was in the middle of the action, which led to four assists, seven rebounds and 10 free throw attempts. Wilcox also had five turnovers, a steal and a block in 37 minutes.
— Newcomer Mike Anderson was the unsung hero Sunday in his first official UW outing. He did a lot of things don’t show up in the box score. But he also did a lot of things that do show up in the stats. The 6-6 junior guard finished with 12 points, including 8-for-13 on free throws. He had eight rebounds, including three on the offensive end. He had three assists and he played 32 minutes. Anderson has also distinguished himself as UW’s best perimeter defender. After SU’s Isiah Umipig torched the Huskies for 15 points in the first half, Romar switched Anderson on the 6-0 SU point guard. Umipig had seven points the rest of the way and held to 2-for-13 shooting in the second half.
— Freshman Darin Johnson also had a strong debut. He came off the bench and delivered 16 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Still, it remains to be seen if the college three-pointer is too daunting for him. He was 1 for 5 behind the arc. On the positive side, Johnson was 5 for 5 on free throws. And he had seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Considering Tony Wroten Jr. had 18 points and Isaiah Thomas 10, Johnson is off to a nice start.
— The same can be said for freshman Nigel Williams-Goss, who made an impact despite being hampered by foul trouble. He had six of UW’s 14 assists and three of the team’s six steals. Williams-Goss had trouble finding the range – he missed his first five shots – before draining a running floater with 13:43 left in the second half. He also struggled containing Umipig.
— Romar hasn’t said a whole lot about Shawn Kemp Jr’s illness other than to note it seems to have subsided and it hurt the 6-10 forward’s progress in camp. Still, Blackwell’s absence pressed Kemp into duty and he did what he does, which is finishing plays around the rim. He was 5 for 8 for 10 points. Still, Kemp has to be more active and get his hands on more deflections and rebounds – he had three in 30 minutes.
— Before his injury, Jarreau collected a steal and drew a foul, making 1 of 2 free throws.
— As strange as it might sound, Gilles Dierickx probably would have played more minutes if Jarreau hadn’t gotten hurt. But once UW committed to a four-guard lineup, the forced the 7-foot reserve bench man on the bench. He also didn’t help his cause when he 10 quiet minutes in the first half. He finished with 12 minutes, four fouls and one rebound.
— Hikeem Stewart came in late in the first half when Washington used a five-guard lineup.