This one was over quick.
Indiana’s Will Sheehey dropped in a layup. Kevin ‘Yogi’ Ferrell drained a three-pointer. Troy Williams and Jeremy Hollowell added two more layups and before the 10,064 at Madison Square Garden settled into their seats, Washington was down 0-9 and the rout was on.
The Huskies trailed 19-16 with 12:53 left and that was as close as they would get before falling behind by as many as 22 points in a 102-84 defeat in the 2K Sports Classic.
There’s so many troubling aspects of this game for the Huskies, but coach Lorenzo Romar has got to worry about his team’s inability to bounce back and make this a game. After Indiana’s fast start, the Hoosiers essentially cruised to a comfortable 18-point win.
Indiana freshman forwards Troy Williams (22 points and eight rebounds) and Noah Vonleh (18 points and nine rebounds) were bigger, stronger and more athletic than anyone the Huskies put in front of them. Williams, Vonleh and Sheehey (16 points) sailed over and around the Huskies for an impressive aerial array of putback dunks, two-hand jams and tomahawk slams.
Washington never led, never mounted any real threat, never gained momentum for a long stretch and never got closer than three-points after IU’s opening run.
Of course, the Huskies (2-2) have other problems. For starters, they can’t rebound.
They’ve been outrebounded in three of their four games. Tonight, they were dominated 50-29 on the glass. Indiana had 20 offensive rebounds, which explains why IU led 27-16 in second-chance points.
Washington has trouble rebounding because the Huskies are short-handed on the front line and just plain short.
Perhaps out of necessity, Romar has used a four-guard lineup for extended minutes. The small-ball tactic worked last Sunday against Eastern Washington. However, against a talented squad like Indiana the Huskies were helpless to prevent what became a dunk show for the Hoosiers.
Washington’s other problem: It can’t shoot straight.
Four games into the season, the Huskies have to admit they’re a dreadful three-point shooting team. They’re shooting 25.8 behind the arc. Tonight they were 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from downtown, which was the best they’ve shot in any game this season. Of course it doesn’t help if C.J. Wilcox, arguably one of the best three-point shooters in the Pac-12, goes 2 of 10 on treys.
The offense is a mess right now. Is Washington running the high post offense or a motion offense? It’s hard to tell. You can’t pin all of this on Romar. He’s missing two significant players in Jernard Jarreau and Desmond Simmons.
Another contributing factor is Washington – like every other college team – is adjusting to the new defensive rules, which has placed a premium on dribble drive penetration. You’re not seeing a lot of ball movement in college basketball. Washington has played two games with fewer than 10 assists. Not surprising they lost both contests.
It’s impossible for the Huskies to fix all of their problems before Friday’s 2 p.m. consolation game against Boston College. They won’t have a lot of time to prep for the Golden Eagles (1-4), which lost 72-70 to Connecticut in Thursday’s other semifinal.
The best thing the Huskies can do is flush Thursday’s game out of their system as quickly as possible and come back the next day and play as hard as they can for as long as they can. Winning consolation games has virtually nothing to do with talent and preparation. The team that shows effort and desire will leave New York with a 1-1 split
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Wilcox overcame a slow start and finished with 24 points on 9-for-20 shooting in 31 minutes. You can lament his accuracy, but Wilcox had to try and carry the offensive load. He made five trips to the free throw line and made four shots.
— Normally you’d applaud anyone who produces 14 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 35 minutes. But the Huskies need Perris Blackwell to be Superman or at least Shaquille O’Neal and that’s asking a lot. He’s a big, strong guy, but he’s also taking a beating and you wonder how long he can hold up.
— Neither Andrew Andrews or Nigel Williams-Goss were efficient while scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively. Between them, they took 26 points which is OK. But one of them had to slow down Ferrell (20 points and seven assists). Andrews and Williams-Goss both played 31 minutes.
— You can also pencil Mike Anderson for 11 points and four rebounds every night. He’s going to hustle. He’ll rebound a little bit – three offensive boards. He’ll take good shots (3 for 3). And he’ll find the open man (two assists). You wonder how much better he’d be if he could play his natural position and not have to play power forward at 6-6.
— Darin Johnson is a shooter and you never want to tell shooters not to shoot. And it’s asking a bit much from a freshman playing his fourth game at Madison Square Garden to bring a diverse attack on the floor. So until he gains a little more experience, the Huskies will have to live with his 1-for-4 three-point shooting. He finished with eight points in 18 minutes.
— This was supposed to be a breakout year for Shawn Kemp Jr., but it’s turning into a season he’s going to want to forget. Thursday marked his third straight bad outing and this was the biggest clunker of the season. He picked up a silly foul on the first possession while trying to set a screen and things went downhill from there. He played just nine minutes before fouling out. He had one rebound.
— Hikeem Stewart and Gilles Dierickx made a brief appearances. It’s obvious they’re low in the rotation, but that could change if the losing continues. It might be time to shake things up a bit.
— And Jahmel Taylor and Quinn Sterling received mop-up time in the final minute.