For a long time, the Huskies and the Cougars played some ugly basketball.
But WSU snapped out of it before UW could – by the time the Huskies finally did it was too late – and the Cougars were rewarded with an 80-69 win at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
“Well, obviously that’s not how we scripted it,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Give Washington State a lot of credit. They came in and played a good ball game. The first half they were changing defenses, and we were standing around way too much. We forced them into 10 turnovers, we had nine turnovers. We were shooting 22 percent, they were shooting 30 percent. So it wasn’t a real clean half.”
The surprising loss ended a streak of 14 straight home of 10 points or more for the Huskies.
The loss also drops Washington to 19-9 on the season, and maybe for the first time this season could slip them back to the NCAA tournament bubble. UW also lost ground it could not afford in the Pac-10 race, falling to 10-6.
Washington State climbs to 18-10 and 8-8.
“To compete in this gym you have to be locked in and focused,” WSU coach Ken Bone said. “And I think our guys were exactly that.”
The Cougs also swept the season series continuing a streak in which one team or the other has swept the Apple Cup of basketball every season since 2002-03.
Despite being the only team to sweep UW this season, Romar said he doesn’t see the Cougars as a particular matchup problem.
“Their strength is their perimeter, and we have a pretty good perimeter as well,” Romar said. They’ve got a big guy underneath that’s pretty good, and I think we have one that’s pretty good. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad matchup.”
Of UW’s starting five, Matthew Bryan-Amaning didn’t get his first point until there was 13:05 left in the game, and C.J. Wilcox didn’t get his first points until 5:35 left.
However, Wilcox played a part in a late 16-4 run that got the Huskies and their home fans back into the game. However, UW got to within six – 65-59 — but no closer.
The loss was the 100th of Lorenzo Romar’s at UW.
Both schools now end their regular seasons with home games against the Los Angeles schools. Washington State will play host to USC on Thursday and UCLA on Saturday. Washington will play host to UCLA on Thursday and USC on Saturday.
I’ll be back with notes, stats and quotes.
1:50 WSU, 74-59. And the game is at a standstill now as tempers have flashed, technicals have been awarded each way, and the refs have spoken to both coaches.
4:08 Huskies pressing and 3-point shooting and suddenly back within dreaming distance, down 65-58 after treys by Wilcox and Thomas.
5:46 WSu, 61-47. Huskies picking up full court trying to get back into this. UW ball as Casto just picked up an offensive foul for putting his shoulder into Overton on a screen.
11:49 WSU, 50-32. During this timeout they’re doing a dancing feature on the scoreboard video screen, but nobody in the Dawg Pack seems in a dancing mood.
16:24 Klay Thompson 3 makes it 41-24 Cougars. And suddenly the WSU fans in here are making some noise.
2nd/16:54 WSU up, 38-23 after a foul call draw a technical from UW coach Lorenzo Romar. With UW’s offensive troubles today, 15 points back is quite a mountain.
Second half: Has begun.
Halftime: WSU, 24-17. And the game has been every bit as ugly as those numbers indicate. Washington’s previous halftime low was 28 points at Stanford. It’s also the fewest points in a first half in Romar’s nine seasons.
Huskies 8 of 36 shooting (22.2 percent) and 1 of 13 on 3-point tries (7.7 percent). Also three assists and nine turnovers.
Cougars not much better: 8 of 25 shotting (32 percent) and 2 of 8 on threes (25 percent). WSU has four assists and 10 turnovers.
However, amid all the misses UW has 25 rebounds to WSU’s 19.
Thompson leads WSU with eight points, Holiday leads UW with five.
1st/3:57 UW nudged ahead briefly on an Isaiah Thomas drive. But it’s 18-15 WSU now.
1st/7:27 WSU, 11-8. Teams are a combined 8-of-42 with 15 turnovers.
1st/8:33 WSU, 11-8.
1st/11:14 WSU, 11-4. UW 2 of 14 with six turnovers. Perhaps worse, Holiday seems to have rolled an ankle.
1st/15:29 Lots of turnovers and missed shots. UW, 4-3. Teams a combined 3-of-13 from the field.
Tipoff: The game has begun.
Pregame: Total Experience Gospel Choir may have just provided the anthem of the year. Nice job.
Meanwhile, UW coach Lorenzo Romar wearing his purple jacket … which he usually tries to hold for non-televised games.
Lineups: UW going with Thomas, N’Diaye, MBA, Holiday and Wilcox.
WSU going with Capers, Thompson, Moore, Casto and Lodwick.
90 minutes to tip: As usual, Terrence Ross and Isaiah Thomas are the first Huskies out warming up today. UW will be wearing gold.
Pregame: It is a cold and windy evening out there. But I have just arrived at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, which should be a very hot gym tonight as the Cougars and Huskies go at it.
The basics: tip is 7 p.m., game will be on FSN and usual radio outlets.
Naturally, we’ll also keep this blog post and the twitter address at left open for pregame, in-game, and postgame updates. And, as always, your comments are encouraged.