BY SPNW Staff 02:45PM 02/15/2014

Cal Rallies, Then Pancakes Huskies 72-59

After playing about as well as they can in constructing a 27-15 lead in the first 22 minutes, the Washington Huskies fell apart defensively, lost their grip on the ball and fell to the California Bears 72-59 Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena. UW probably played its way out of an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, if it hadn’t already.

Victimized by a 17-0 Cal run at the end of the first half, Washington dropped to 14-12 overall and 6-7 in Pac-12 play. The Huskies also saw their seven-game home winning streak end. California, almost certain to make the NCAA Tournament, improved to 17-8 and 8-4.

Most of Washington’s numbers came up negative despite the fast start. The Huskies shot 35.9 percent from the floor and made 4 of 21 from 3-point range. That included an 0-for-14 effort in the second half. Washington also had 14 turnovers.

“The momentum kind of shifted on us and we never got it back,” senior Perris Blackwell said of UW coughing up a 12-point lead. “We’ve got to get right mentally over this weekend and see how much we want this. We’ll just have to dig deep and come back to work on Monday. We’re going to have to find a way to get over this.”

“This was really unfortunate and it’s not something we saw coming,” said coach Lorenzo Romar. “We were dialed in, out-rebounding them, and the next thing you know there are some careless turnovers and missed shots. After that, we could not stop the bleeding.

“I just thought we got down on our selves mentally and couldn’t recover. That’s what has happened to us on the road. We allow negativity to set in and focus on what’s not going well. We definitely took a couple of steps backward in this game.”

Leading scorer C.J. Wilcox had five assists and four blocked shots, but couldn’t find his shot and finished with a season-low eight points, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Wilcox has made only 3 of his last 23 3-point attempts.

“He wasn’t as aggressive in the first half as he needed to be, and in the second half he couldn’t get it to drop,” said Romar.

Andrew Andrews, who played a season-low five minutes against Stanford last Wednesday, rebounded with 21 points, Nigel Williams-Goss added 12 and  Blackwell, despite four fouls, contributed 10 rebounds and 11 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season.

Tyrone Wallace produced 20 points for Cal and Richard Solomon had 18 as the Bears generated a 20-7 edge in points off turnovers.

Washington stormed to a 27-15 lead with 6:40 remaining in the first half as Andrews and Williams-Goss scored nine points each and the Huskies dominated the boards 19-7. Then UW got sloppy, fueling a 19-2 California run that ended with the Bears holding a 34-29 halftime lead.

Washington dropped four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, none by Wilcox, who didn’t get his first basket until the final minute before intermission. Cal made its late, first-half run by stealing the ball six times.

Cal quickly stretched its lead to 40-31 in the first two minutes of the second half and the Huskies never could make much of a dent. Wallace went coast-to-coast for a layup and an old-fashioned 3-pointer at 13:05 to give the Bears a 50-37 lead.

UW pulled within 50-43 at 11:12 and to 50-45 on a fadeaway jumper by Andrews at 10:22. But every time Washington cut into Cal’s lead, the Bears ran it out to double figures. In one two-play sequence, Wilcox and Andrews blew layups.

The Huskies travel to Oregon next week to face the Ducks Wednesday (6 p.m.) and the Beavers Saturday (1 p.m.).



  • jafabian

    The past few losses have had a common denominator: a poor game by CJ. And it seemed like the defense just ran out of gas in the end. Someone needs to step up when CJ is being focused on and that person isn’t there right now. Staying at UW might have hurt his NBA draft stock. At this point I think it’s the CBI for the team.

  • poulsbogary

    There comes a time. . . . . And I believe lorenzo’s time has come. He just has not accomplished anything.

    • jafabian

      The NBA would disagree with that statement, considering how many players UW has put in their league during his tenure. In 11 seasons he’s had only two losing seasons and one was the first where he took over a bad team from Bob Bender. He’s made the Sweet Sixteen three times during his tenure and has been either the Pac 12 Conference or Tournament champ five times. The team lost three starters from last season and Kemp Jr. hasn’t played healthy all season and it shows. They lost Jernard Jerreau for the season early. When that happened I figured NIT at best because the Pac 12 is fairly even among its teams. Lorenzo does not hurt the program and there isn’t a coach out there who’s better and available.

      Pac 12 commisioner Larry Scott did an interview where he said the one-and-done rule the NBA has hurts college basketball. Never has that been more evident than at UW where under Romar Nate Robinson, Spencer Hawes, Isaiah Thomas, Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross have all left early for the NBA. Those last three should have played together. If it wasn’t for the one-and-done rule schools like Butler wouldn’t be in the Final Four. And right now its painfully obvious that Wroten should have stayed in school. If he did CJ wouldn’t be caring so much of a load right now.

      • poulsbogary

        In terms of expense, the university isn’t getting its money’s worth. The could pay a lot less to a coach and still get the results that they are now getting. He has never taken a team to a final 8. Bob bender at least did that. Kemp is only on the team because of his last name. It’s all about the tournament at the ncaa level. That other stuff is secondary.

        • jafabian

          Actually, Bender went to the Sweet Sixteen only once. He never took the team to the Elite Eight and went to the NCAA’s twice in 9 seasons. In the last five years alone Romar’s wins have been 26, 26, 24, 24, 18 and the team went to a tourney every time, 3 of which were in the NCAAs.

  • Joe Fan

    Yes Poulsbogary, the hour glass on Lorenzo has run out. The coach’s system has to endure year in and year out, and this negative trend has gone on long enough to show that he has lost his mojo. He definitely has to go. I love UW men’s basketball and this has become very painful to watch for too long now.

  • 1coolguy

    “So long, farewell” ……………..
    When will Scott pull the LONG overdue plug on Romar?
    He’s a good guy BUT will NEVER get the UW into the top 25 consistently.
    Can you imagine how much MORE money bb would generate, from additional ticket sales and enhanced media contracts, if the UW had a winning program each year?
    The UW is not seeing MILLIONS by having such an average bb program.
    I gave up my season tickets 4 years ago and now only attend the occasional game. This just isn’t a very good entertainment expenditure any more.
    I DO attend UW volleyball games, as they are exciting and are always playing in the top 3 of the PAC-12. No reason UW bb shouldn’t be there also.
    Again, when are you sending Romar off and finding a top 25 coach Scott?