Here’s what Washington coach Lorenzo Romar had to say about the Huskies’ 76-65 victory over Arizona State here on Thursday night, including UW’s strategy against Jahii Carson.
(Opening statement) “Couldn’t be more proud of our team, coming out here in the beginning of a very tough road trip. ArizonaState had been playing really good basketball, and our guys I just thought maintained – with the exception of the last four minutes, four or five minutes – I thought we had our best focus all year.
“For you guys that had seen us play last game, I said I thought in spite of the score, I thought we had great focus against Hartford. I thought our guys continued to do that tonight. A lot of guys did a lot of good things for us to win. It would have to be a team win in order for us to get this done.”
(Is this proof of what happens when you play defense the way you want to?) “Yeah. It’s been … it’s taken a while, but I continue to say, we’ve been making progress. I thought tonight, we did as good of a job against a quality team as we’ve done all year over a 40-minute period. We’ve done that in spurts over the last three weeks but not for this long of a period.”
(On guarding Jahii Carson) “We just talked about with Jahii, let’s put our pride aside. It’s not 1-on-1 with him. You’re going to lose that battle. You have to guard him as a team. And we just tried to, for lack of a better way to put it, zone up off the ball when he had the ball. But it was very important that we did that in transition because he’s so good. We counted last year at our place he scored several layups just when the defense wasn’t organized and back. He took full advantage of that. We talked about you have to pick him up early and all eyes have to be on him, but while that happens, you can’t leave your guy because the shoot the ball so well from 3. So it requires a lot of focus to guard those guys because he’s such a good player and they surround him with such good shooters.”
(What did you tell team after ASU run?) “That we were missing shots. We were getting great looks and we were missing shots, so don’t get down right now. Everything’s the same, but the reason they’re scoring now is because we’re missing those shots and they’re going in, they’re getting in a rhythm. Keep defending. If we keep defending, balls will go down and we’ll be OK.”
(More on defensive effort) “I thought tonight was one of the first times all year that we came out and played like our identity was on the defensive end. That was our identity. And that’s something we’ve been trying to build and build and hadn’t quite got there. And I thought on the road, we did a good job of that.”
(On matching up with Jordan Bachynski) “Perris Blackwell’s really strong and Bachynski has really improved and developed, and when he gets an angle, he can lean away from you and score. And we just talked, him and Shawn Kemp Jr., make sure you keep a body between him and the basket. Make him shoot over a hand. That’s what we tried to do.”
(On Darin Johnson’s game) “Darin did a nice job. Freshman on the road, first time, wasn’t a starter, he came in and played quality minutes.”
(On Williams-Goss posting up Jahii Carson) “We’ve done that a couple of games here as of late, we’ve had opportunities. Nigel’s really good on the block. Andrew’s good on the block. We have bigger guards and whenever we’re in that situation we try to take advantage of that. A team not as good as ArizonaState, but MississippiValleyState, was smaller at the guard spot and we scored a ton of points doing that same thing. So the versatility of it to be able to do that is a luxury for us.”
(What does this say about your team?) “Progress, as I’ve continued to say. Last year we were 8-5 in non-conference and won our first road game. And this year, it happened again. Again, I’m just proud that … we talked to our team before the game, non-conference is over, we’ve faced a lot of adversity. As you’re going through, you don’t realize adversity that you’ve faced. Injuries and all, trying to mix and amtch, a lot of adversity. We’re starting to come together. Let’s play like it. This was maybe a culmination of us getting better and better here and there.”
(Eight consecutive wins over ASU. Just a good matchup?) “I don’t know, because I say this every time we play them, I dread the game, because Coach (Herb) Sendek’s a great coach and they have those shooters. If it’s not James Harden, it’s Jahii Carson. It’s some kind of problem they pose for us. We’ve just been very fortunate.”