Washington coach Lorenzo Romar didn’t seem particularly concerned about how difficult it was for Washington to put Hartford away on Sunday night. The Hawks led as late as the 2:30 mark, but the Huskies made a few big shots (and free throws) down the stretch to ice a 73-67 victory.
UW’s focus, Romar said, was more or less where he wanted it.
“In terms of our focus, it was pretty close to what we want to see,” he said. “If we have this same focus and go on the road … Hartford took the lead, the game was back and forth. We didn’t put our heads down. We stayed the course. If we can do that same thing when we go on the road and then make shots on top of it, I feel good about our team.”
Here’s most of what Romar had to say afterward …
(Opening statement) “You may look at the score and see it’s a six point win at home against a team that wasn’t nationally ranked and high profile and say we were just OK. I would say I was really proud of our guys because they had too many layups, the big guys, (Nate) Sikma and (Mark) Nwakamma, they did a good job of driving the ball against us, but I thought our guys stayed pretty much focused the entire game. That’s what we’ve been looking for. That has been something that has escaped us, but I thought we did a pretty good job there. In the first half we couldn’t get shots to go down. We shot close to 36 percent in the first half. The second half we shot it a lot better and that was the difference. I thought our guys did a pretty good job of staying focused.
“An unsung hero in this game is Mike Anderson. He didn’t score a bucket, he only took one shot. But in the second half he defended Nwakamma, fronting him the entire time and he did a pretty good job, because that guy was a tough cover for us all night.
“I thought Andrew Andrews played … he didn’t shoot a high percentage, I thought he was very active offensively and defensively. He got a big rebound for us down the stretch. I thought a lot of guys stepped up and played solid basketball for us.”
(On Hartford’s 3-point shooting) “They are a good 3-point shooting team and they started out, a couple of times they got away from us. I think they hit four 3s in their first five or six possessions, something like that. That kind of got them going again. Their bigs, Sikma hit one I know in the first half. Nwakamma hit a couple in the first half. Just all their guys are pretty good shooters.”
(On Hartford’s zone) “Initially we were stagnant. That’s my fault. In the first half we were probably trying to call too many plays. We were probably thinking too much. In the second half, we ran our motion against zone and a lot of things opened up at that point. Our guys were just able to play. I think it helped us.”
(Did it help when Hartford switched to man-to-man?) “Yeah, obviously we’re comfortable that way. Even against the zone in the second half down the stretch, Desmond hits a high-low to Perris, we found guys open for wide-open shots. We started to relax and just play basketball as opposed to thinking so much.”
(On inbounds pass to C.J. Wilcox with 19 seconds left) “That’s exactly what we wanted. We wanted to isolate C.J. going to the basket. That’s what he did. Our guys did a good job of executing.”
(On getting Perris Blackwell more involved) “We missed Perris a couple times. He was open and we didn’t get him the ball a few times there in the zone. They were kind of sitting on him. Like I said, in the first half we were thinking too much. We just played more in the second half. I thought Des (Simmons) was active. He was 7 of 8 from the line and scored 11 points in 12 minutes. Mike is the guy that we’d like to see get more shots because he shoots a high field-goal percentage. … Perris, it says he’s 3 for 3 here, but we missed Perris. We’ve got to get him the ball when he’s open.”
(Anything up with Darin Johnson? He only played two minutes) “Nothing up. We just went with these guys tonight.”
(On technical foul against Hartford) “I thought it opened up. Gave us a little breathing room at that point. C.J. makes three of the four free-throws, puts us up four, and that was the first time in a while there was any distance on our end.”
(On Jahmel Taylor playing more) “Jahmel is capable of making baskets. Tonight he made 1 of 3. He’s a shot maker. He’s a basket maker. He’s shown that in the games he’s been in before. On the defensive end, he was fine. He’s a good basketball player. It’s just been hard to play minutes and get everybody in.”
(On how much further along the team is with Pac-12 play approaching) “Two things that had been bothering me. Tonight, I thought we got an A. we maintained our focus for 40 minutes and we turned the ball over seven times, which is a season low. We had been turning the ball over too much after taking very good care of the basketball in the beginning of the year and we went back to taking care of it tonight so I would say we’re much further along now.”