One of the numerous oddities from the Arizona State game was Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar not taking the glass half-full approach.
“If we’re not going to defend better, we can’t expect to come out on top,” Romar said. “I’ll take it. If we’d have held them to 20 percent and lost, it would have been worse, so we’ll take it for sure, but we just have to do a better job on the defensive end.”
The flip to that is Washington scored 96 points after being in an offensive malaise much of conference play.
Arizona State helped. Jahii Carson, for all his offensive brilliance, was very poor defensively. As was Jonathan Gilling, who had to deal with the much larger Shawn Kemp Jr. in the post. Once Carrick Felix, ASU’s best defender, was in foul trouble, Washington had multiple options on offense.
Which, between pushing the ball, scoring in the post and in the paint, provided Washington with its best offensive night of the season. It gave Romar hope.
“I want to say, the Arizona State game was maybe a breakthrough offensively,” Romar said. “We were not only running the offense and reading the defense, but guys were comfortable enough to make shots. I thought it all flowed together.”
Flowing together has been the issue for Washington this year. Good offense has rarely been together with good defense. We’ve seen times where both were poor.
Can they carry last Saturday’s offense to Los Angeles?
Against UCLA, Washington will be filled with intriguing cross-matches. Which Bruin will guard Aziz N’Diaye? Travis Wear? He doesn’t want to be down there.
The flip is N’Diaye will have to guard the pick-and-pop heavy Wear on the other end. Something we wrote about for today’s paper.
UCLA also likes to run. Jordan Adams gambles a lot, which leads to layups for both teams. If he’s on Scott Suggs, who turns the ball over at a high rate for how much he handles it, Adams could have a big day.
We’ll also see Washington run again tonight. The Bruins play at the highest tempo in the conference. Their preference to run plus often unsound, freshman-based defense, should get Washington back out on the break.