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.
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