Maybe the Huskies shouldn’t play many more games at Madison Square Garden where they have a seven-game losing streak following Friday’s 89-78 defeat to Boston College in the 2K Sports Classic consolation game.
But then the world’s most famous arena really has nothing to do with Washington’s current problems.
Quite simply the Huskies (2-3) are injured and small. And those two things aren’t going to change any time soon.
Maybe the best sign for Washington on Friday – other than C.J. Wilcox finding his three-point stroke and dropping in a career-high 30 points – was Desmond Simmons walking with just a slight limp on the sideline. The Huskies are hoping he returns from arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-to-late December, which means he could miss the next 4-8 games.
Simmons isn’t going to solve all of Washington’s problems, but one of his best attributes is rebounding and this team sorely needs someone who can rebound.
For the second straight game and the fourth time in five games, the Huskies were outrebounded. Boston College entered the game averaging 27.6 rebounds and ranked 346th in the nation. However, the Eagles won the battle of the boards 34-27. It was a season-low rebound performance from the Huskies.
Still, Washington didn’t lose this game on the glass.
The Huskies lost on the defensive end where they allowed BC to shoot 55.9 percent from the field and 44 percent (11 of 25) on three-pointers. Opponents have scored at least 78 points against UW in every game. Three times UW opponents have shot better than 50 percent from the field. It’s no coincidence the Huskies lost all three of those games.
“We just have to get better defensively,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Much better.”
Romar tweaked the starting lineup and has fully embraced small ball. Newcomer Mike Anderson, a 6-6 wing, replaced 6-9 forward Shawn Kemp Jr., who has struggled in his past three games.
Still, Romar admits the four-guard lineup has problems.
“I think our lack of size has hurt us on the boards,” Romar said. “We don’t really have a rim protector.”
Without a shot blocker inside, it’s open season on the UW basket. Indiana pounded the Huskies with seven dunks while Boston College scored 40 points in the paint.
Wilcox also lamented another slow start. The Huskies fell behind by as much as 16 points and trailed 46-34 at halftime. They managed to outscore the Eagles 44-43 in the second half, but it was too little, too late.
“It’s tough to bounce back after the opposing team throws the first punch like that,” Wilcox said. “We made some runs, came back and cut the lead to single digits, but they kept pulling away.”
Romar has to figure out his lineup, which is dwindling by the game. Judging from the minutes distributed Friday, he has faith in just six players.
“We’re still trying to learn this whole thing,” Wilcox said. “We’re playing a lot of new guys early since our two players went down. A lot of guys are being thrown into the fire.”
The Huskies fly home Saturday night for two games at Alaska Airlines Arena next week. The play Montana (1-2) on Tuesday and Long Beach State (1-5) next Saturday.
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