BY SPNW Staff 01:07PM 12/19/2011

‘Stupefying’ fairly describes Huskies’ hoops loss

Only one other occasion in the past 50 years has Washington been beaten more handily at home by a school comparable to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

All of the Washington Huskies, not just Terrence Ross (31), C.J. Wilcox (23) and Desmond Simmons (30), looked dazed and out of sorts Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

In the aftermath of Washington’s stupefying 92-73 loss to unranked — and obviously overlooked — South Dakota State Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena, UW coach Lorenzo Romar offered an explanation as to why his Huskies were so ill-prepared to face the Jackrabbits of the Summit League.

“I saw it at 8:30 this morning (Sunday) when we met for our pre-game meal,” Romar said. “You know your team, you know the look in their eyes. You know when they just lack energy. I don’t think they’ve ever seen highlights on Sportscenter of South Dakota State and subconsciously, sometimes that can play an effect.

“We do all we can as coaches to try to make sure we understand that this team is better than we might think. We tried to help our team understand how good of a basketball player Nate Wolters (32 points with nary a turnover) was. Bottom line is, with energy or no energy, this is unacceptable. It shouldn’t happen.”

Romar added, “I don’t care who we play. We don’t lose like we did today at home. It’s just unacceptable . . . unacceptable.”

The 19-point defeat, which snapped Washington’s school-record 32-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents, goes down as one of the epic non-league home stumbles in school history.

Four of the worst such defeats were administered by ranked opponents, including a 26-point romp by No. 1 Duke on Jan. 3, 1989. But on only one other occasion have the Huskies lost by a larger margin at home to a non-ranked school comparable in size and status to South Dakota State. That was Dec. 1, 1981, when UW absorbed a 25-point pounding by Idaho.

The chart lists Washington’s worst home thumpings to non-conference opponents in the past 50 years:

Year Date Opponent Score Marg. Opp. Rank UW Coach
1989 Jan. 3 Duke 87-61 26 1 Andy Russo
1981 Dec. 1 Idaho 86-61 25 None Marv Harshman
2003 Dec. 3 Gonzaga 86-62 24 17 Lorenzo Romar
2001 Dec. 11 Gonzaga 67-47 20 25 Bob Bender
2011 Dec. 18 South Dakota St. 92-73 19 None Lorenzo Romar
2000 Dec. 30 San Diego 72-54 18 None Bob Bender
1966 Dec. 2 Iowa 66-50 16 None Mac Duckworth
1993 Dec. 18 Idaho 71-55 16 None Bob Bender
1997 Feb. 10 Cincinnati 82-69 13 6 Bob Bender

Romar suggested that Washington’s recent trip (Dec. 6-10) to New York, where the Huskies met Marquette and Duke in Madison Square Garden, might have sapped his team’s energy, setting the stage for Sunday’s home-floor flop.

“I had a concern before the game began that we potentially might lack energy,” Romar said. “After the very emotional New York trip, flying back and then not having a day off trying to prepare for finals week and all that. We got an adrenaline win, I think, against Santa Barbara (Friday), and it’s always been a rule of thumb with us, as a staff, just knowing that if you go seven or eight days in a row, it’s going to catch up with you.

“You need to somehow back off. I spoke, before the game, to several people about our lack of energy. I spoke to our team concerning our lack of energy and said we better be ready to go. I thought that was only one of our issues. That’s not to discredit what South Dakota State did. They were very, very good.”

Romar particularly referenced the issue of his team’s lack of defense, noting, “One thing we have to do right now is that we must get better defensively.”

After giving up 92 points to the Jackrabbits, the Huskies are allowing 76.3 points per game. That’s not the worst in school history, but it’s the seventh worst in the past four decades, as the chart shows:

Season Coach Opp. Pts Skinny
1988-89 Andy Russo 82.5 Allowed 120 to ASU Dec. 22, 1988
2003-04 Lorenzo Romar 79.0 Allowed 90+ twice, 102 to UAB
1981-82 Marv Harshman 77.1 Gave up 90+ in 6 different games
2001-02 Bob Bender 77.1 Blowout of year: Stanford 105, UW 60
1997-98 Bob Bender 76.6 Yielded 110 to Arizona Jan. 31, 1998
2000-01 Bob Bender 76.7 Allowed 90+ points in two Pac-10 games
2011-12 Lorenzo Romar 76.3 Gave up season-high 92 to Jackrabbits
1987-88 Andy Russo 74.9 Allowed 110 to Arizona Dec. 20, 1987
1974-75 Marv Harshman 73.4 Gave up season high to #2 UCLA

An issue Romar did not address, perhaps because the Huskies made 16 of 22 (72.7 percent) against the Jackrabbits, is that Washington’s free throw conversion rate still leaves much to be desired. Even after Sunday, Washington is making only 62.2 percent of its foul shots. So this is — so far — the third-worst foul-shooting team Washington has presented in the past four decades, as the chart shows.

Year Coach FT% Rec. Tournament/Skinny
2000-01 Bob Bender .575 10-20 No postseason tournament
2007-08 Lorenzo Romar .580 16-17 Lost CBI first round
2011-12 Lorenzo Romar .622 5-5 Tony Wroten at .514%
1993-94 Bob Bender .623 5-22 No postseason tournament
1995-96 Bob Bender .624 16-12 Lost first round of NIT
1974-75 Marv Harshman .633 16-10 No postseason tournament
1983-84 Marv Harshman .643 24-7 Lost NCAA West Regionals
1984-85 Marv Harshman .650 22-10 Lost NCAA first round
1999-00 Bob Bender .662 10-20 No postseason tournament
1994-95 Bob Bender .660 10-17 No postseason tournament

After losing Sunday, the Huskies spoke collectively about putting the defeat behind them and focusing on their next opponent, Cal State Northridge Thursday. Unfortunately for Washington, the NCAA Tournament selection committee will have the South Dakota State debacle vividly in mind for the rest of the season.

COUSY AWARD NOMINEES —  Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten were among the almost 60 candidates nominated for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award.

The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball.

Gaddy, a junior from Bellarmine in Tacoma, is averaging 9.3 points and 4.9 assists per game. He leads the Pac-12 and ranks 18th nationally in assist to turnover ratio at 2.9 (49 assists, 17 turnovers). He is also third in the Pac-12 and 68th nationally in assists per game.

Wroten, a true freshman from Garfield in Seattle, is second among all Pac-12 scorers with 16.4 points per game. He also is fourth in steals at 1.7. On Friday night vs. UC Santa Barbara, Wroten tied a UW freshman record with 27 points and overall has scored 20 or more in three straight games.

This original list of candidates will be narrowed to 20 by Jan. 1,  10 by Feb. 1 and a final five by March 1, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame said in a release.  A selection committee will be appointed by the to review the final five candidates.


  • R2mnotr2

    The Idaho team that beat the Huskies in 1981 was very, very good. They lost to Pitt in the first round of the dance by a point (only 32 teams then, or maybe 48). In ’82 they entered the tourney ranked #7 in the country. Let’s hope SDSU is just really good. The Huskies sure made them look that way.

  • R2mnotr2

    The Idaho team that beat the Huskies in 1981 was very, very good. They lost to Pitt in the first round of the dance by a point (only 32 teams then, or maybe 48). In ’82 they entered the tourney ranked #7 in the country. Let’s hope SDSU is just really good. The Huskies sure made them look that way.