Another night, another should have, would have, didn’t for Washington.
The evening was chock full of turnovers, misguided shots and often poor basketball. Washington lost 59-57 on a buzzer-beater by UCLA point guard and non-scorer Larry Drew II. The Huskies are 13-10, 5-5 in the Pac-12, and appearing heading for the NIT, if they stay above .500.
This loss had Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar concerned it might linger and thankful they don’t play again until Sunday against USC.
“My biggest concern with my guys is not to go into a tailspin because a loss like this sometimes can put you in a situation where it takes you too long to recover,” Romar said. “It’s probably good we have some time and play on Sunday to get over this, this is a tough loss because I thought we fought hard.”
News, notes and thoughts:
> Romar lamented the turnovers postgame. Washington had 19 and UCLA scored 19 points off them. It’s an enormous sum considering the Bruins had more shot attempts (66) than points (59). Those are stunning numbers for a winning team.
> C.J. Wilcox finished with 15 points after going 4 for 6 in the second half. He had a tough start, going 3 for 10 in the first half. He was 0 for 6 on the night and has missed his last nine 3-point attempts. He’s 1-for-14 from 3 in his last three games. Wilcox also had a team-high six turnovers. He also had seven rebounds. Postgame, he was in a walking boot. More on that here.
> Scott Suggs disappeared once again. He was in foul trouble in the first half, finished the game 1 for 7 and committed two turnovers in 20 minutes. Though, he did play solid defense against UCLA star freshman Shabazz Muhammad. This is quickly becoming a lost season for the fifth-year senior who has almost as many turnovers and fouls (72) as field goals made (80).
> Abdul Gaddy had a solid night. He scored 13 points, had a season-high eight assists and added two rebounds. He also hit the only two 3-pointers Washington made all night. The Huskies were 2-for-15 from behind the 3-point line. Gaddy had a brutal turnover when Washington was down 54-53 with 1:37 to go. Gaddy tugged a board away from Muhammad, who fell. When pushing the ball up the floor, Gaddy’s pass to the wing was picked off by Drew II and sent to Muhammad, who was still well in the backcourt, for a dunk that put UCLA up 56-53 with 1:26 to go. That’s known as a pick-six in basketball.
> Aziz N’Diaye. Eleven points, 18 boards. He was 1 of 3 from the foul line and missed a chance with 1:09 left to tie the game with a free throw. “We had the game in our hands and let it slip away. We beat ourselves not taking care of the ball and not executing down the stretch,” N’Diaye said. Otherwise, he dominated.
> Shawn Kemp Jr. made his third consecutive start and scored 10 points. Postgame, he blamed himself for being late to challenge Drew on the final play. “I should have been over there quicker. Basically, that last play was on me.” Romar explained what they were trying to do against ball screens in the game and how they changed what they wanted to do late.
“We had been switching the ball screen with him all night and about three minutes before that, we changed because we give them a different look, we could throw them off. They didn’t run a ball screen forever. Finally, he came off a ball screen and there was kind of like a blur of who was supposed to step up and I don’t if we stepped up.”
So, here’s Washington at 13-10, 5-5 in conference. Playing at USC on Sunday is no gimme. Eight games remain in conference play.