Just when the Huskies were starting to look ahead to a bright future and fill their heads with hopes of a NCAA tournament, an old nemesis popped their Big Dance balloon with a disheartening 72-67 defeat.
It’s not as if Washington can’t or won’t bounce back from Saturday’s setback against Washington State, but this one is going to take awhile to get over if for no other reason than the Huskies thought they had game sewn up. They were ahead 42-34 with 13:40 remaining and momentum on their side.
“We were definitely feeling good where we were at,” C.J. Wilcox said. “After you’ve been ahead for most of the game and then you start falling behind, it’s tough to switch it around and feel the way you did before.”
Once the Cougars started to get rolling, there was no stopping them. And once the Huskies went cold, no one could make a shot.
Here’s a look at their possessions during the pivotal 24-5 run over a 9:48 minute stretch.
— Andrew Andrews missed a three- pointer. (0 for 1)
— Wilcox missed a three. (0 for 2)
— Shawn Kemp Jr. blows a dunk. (0 for 3)— Perris Blackwell missed a jumper. (0 for 4)
— Nigel Williams-Goss missed a three. (0 for 5)
— Mike Anderson missed a three. (0 for 6)
— Blackwell makes 1 of 2 free throws.
— Wilcox cuts backdoor for a dunk. (1 for 7)
— Wilcox missed a layup. (1 for 8)
— Wilcox missed a three. (1 for 9)
— Blackwell blows a layup. (1 for 10)
— Blackwell missed the putback (1 for 11)
— Desmond Simmons missed jumper (1 for 12)
— Andrews commits a turnover
— Anderson makes two free throws
— Blackwell commits a turnover
When it was over, Washington State led 58-47 with 3:52 left and the outcome was pretty much decided. The Huskies were 1 for 12 and committed two turnovers during the decisive run while the Cougars converted 8 of 15 field goals.
“I’ll have to look at the film again, but I think we were getting good shots,” Romar said.
Later he added: “No one is out there trying to miss. We’re trying. Give them a lot of credit for taking advantage.”
Wilcox said. “It happens over and over again. When (teams) start making runs, a lot of guys start taking shots that they don’t normally take just in desperation to try to get the team back.”
Washington trailed 39-36 in the rebounding battle, but it was worse then the statistics indicate. The Cougars got 14 offensive rebounds, which led to many of their seven three-pointers.
The Huskies also did a lousy job defensively against a WSU team that averaged 49 points in seven previous Pac-12 games. The Cougars were way too comfortable offensively. They committed just five turnovers. They took 34 free throws – making 21 – while UW was 9 for 13 at the line.
Washington had just one block had difficulty defending the pick ‘n roll in the middle of the floor. D.J. Shelton (20 points, 18 rebounds, four steals and three assists) also was allowed to operate with impunity. He was 6 for 11 from the field and 6 of 8 on free throws.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Brilliant game from Wilcox, who bounced back from a so-so outing last Saturday. He had 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including four three-pointers. he also had three assists and two rebounds in 38 minutes. Wilcox is going to make the right basketball play and not force things when others struggle offensively.
— Blackwell did his job. Whenever he finishes with 13 points and 10 rebounds – his fifth double double – that’s a positive sign for Washington. He converted 5 of 10 field goals and 3 of 6 free throws. Blackwell also had three assists to offset three turnovers in 33 minutes.
— It’s becoming more and more apparent that Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews are the X-factors for Washington. They have to make shots. Williams-Goss did it last week scoring 32 points in a win over Oregon State. Andrews did it last week scoring 17 in a win over Oregon. Today, they combined for four points in the first half. It didn’t seem like much of anything because UW led 27-25 at the break. But in the second half, Washington needed someone other than Wilcox to make plays. Williams-Goss got hot late in the game and finished with 11 points, but he struggled for long stretches. He had more turnovers (six) than assists (four), rebounds (five) and field goals (four). Andrews was 0 for 3 on three-pointers and 4 of 10 from the field. He also had five assists, two steals and two turnovers.
— Anderson collected 10 rebounds, but he was no match for Shelton. It’s also becoming apparent teams are going to give him the three-point shot. He made one in the first half, which was only his second three in the past 12 games. He was 1 for 4 behind the arc.
— Good start for Kemp, who flushed two dunks. But it seemed as if he made a few defensive gaffes that reduced his minutes. After botching a tomahawk jam, Kemp wasn’t the same the rest of the game. He played just two minutes of his 12 minutes in the second half and finished with four points and zero rebounds.
— Simmons is billed as a versatile, lockdown defender, but he too was no match against Shelton. Simmons had three rebounds in 19 minutes.
— Freshman guard Darin Johnson played all of his seven minutes in the first half. He had one turnover and missed a shot.
— Freshman guard Jahmel Taylor played the final minute.