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
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