The most memorable moment from the Huskies’ conference opening loss to Southern California came at the end of the first overtime. UW was down by three with about one second left.
The obvious play would be to screen for Ryan Appleby – the three-point ace with the hot hand – to take the final shot. But coach Lorenzo Romar went in another direction, calling the play for his 7-foot freshman, who nailed the shot.
Romar explains his thinking: “We kind of felt that if Appleby was on the floor, and even Hans – if those guys were on the floor they were going to guard them. And we put Spencer on the other side of the ball, hoping that they would kind of forget about him, No. 1. No. 2, big guys usually don’t usually have to get through screens for shots. No. 3, Spencer can shoot the ball.”
That’s the same idea the Gene Hackman character had in “Hoosiers” – taking the ball out of his best shooters’ hands because the other team would expect the best shooter to shoot. But whereas the Hackman character was talked out of it (“I’ll make it, coach…”), Romar’s plan was unopposed and it worked.
Romar, by the way, credits his time with NBA coach Don Nelson for giving him the courage to take the unconventional approach.