The postgame discussions didn’t revolve around panic, but words we hadn’t heard yet this year were being used.
After being swept out of Los Angeles, Washington has lost six of seven games. Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said after the UCLA loss he was concerned about his team discarding it before the USC game. Washington was off to a putrid start Sunday night, but Romar said afterward he didn’t think the UCLA loss had anything to with it on the way to a 71-60 loss to USC.
A large influence on the start was the Huskies’ disinterest in playing defense. The Trojans took and made just about any shot they wanted. Washington was down 18-6 in a blink and never led, something that has happened to it three times in the last seven games.
Turnovers, again, were a problem. A slow start, again, was a problem, just when it appeared Washington had trended away from that. Lack of continuity appears to be the ultimate issue.
In the 24th game, Abdul Gaddy had to yell to Shawn Kemp Jr. to come up to the elbow to start the offense. Scott Suggs threw a pass toward Desmond Simmons after getting caught in the air. Simmons was running to rebound, thinking Suggs was going to shoot, and never saw the ball.
Suggs had an excellent second half, during which he scored all of his 16 points. It was the most he scored since the Jackson State game Dec. 15. Trouble was, C.J. Wilcox was shut out in the half. In the second half, Washington shot 48.3 percent and held USC to 33.3 percent, but the first half was so poor, it didn’t matter.
Aziz N’Diaye had 10 points and 12 rebounds, but was 2-for-9 from the free-throw line on the night. Only three other Huskies shot free throws, Simmons, Suggs and Andrew Andrews, and they were 2 for 5.
The Huskies just can’t get everyone pulling in the same direction at the same time.
“There are things that we can build on from here,” Romar said. “We just have to find that one game where we’re defending, everybody’s playing decently, not everyone is having a career night, just no one has a bad night.
“We just have to do that one time to where everybody is on the same page and we can get this thing turned around to where we have some momentum going into the Pac-12 tournament. It’s like we have the defensive thing resolved, now, here comes the turnover thing. Those two resolved, now something else happens.”
Some quick thoughts as we wrap up the week in LA with just seven games remaining in conference play:
> Wilcox missed some very good looks. After beating former NBA sharp-shooter and general manager Steve Kerr in a 3-point shooting contest at shootaround (Wilcox in shorts and T-shirt made nine out of 10 3-pointers and Kerr in jeans and Tim’s made seven), Wilcox missed all three second-half shots he took. The fact Wilcox shot just three of Washington’s 29 attempts in the second half is stunning. Much of it had to do with Suggs coming to life. Still, three shots? With the guy assigned to guard him from the start, Jio Fontan, out with foul trouble much of the half? It should be noted Wilcox had seven boards and a career-high six steals to go with three assists and zero turnovers.
> Washington must have been pleased to see Suggs’ outburst. He was 7 for 8 from the field in the second half. He became much more aggressive as the game progressed and Romar started running sets in the high-post offense to get him shots. Again, this is back to the theme of everyone doing it at the same time. Suggs was hot, but Kemp and Wilcox were quiet. Gaddy and N’Diaye were steady. Andrew Andrews (seven points, four assists, three turnovers) was OK.
“It has to start tonight, tomorrow, whenever we practice again,” Suggs said. “We have to change immediately.”
> Gaddy had two late turnovers — again — that spoiled what was otherwise a good game for him. He scored 12 points, had four assists and even a blocked shot. He and N’Diaye were the only two engaged in the game early.
> Romar shrunk the rotation to seven players on Sunday.
> Washington will take a mandatory day off from practice (by NCAA rule, each school has to take at least one day off from practice per week during the season) Monday and will be back at it Tuesday before hosting Oregon Wednesday.
> Lastly, and most important, we would like to send our condolences to Lorenzo Romar and his family. His mother, Dorothy, passed away last Friday, the day before the Arizona State game.