When coach Lorenzo Romar tossed 7-footer Robert Upshaw from his squad two weeks ago for violating an unspecified team rule, he had to know his Huskies, once nationally ranked, would struggle with no inside game. But UW has more than struggled: It flat-lined, at least evidenced by Sunday’s 60-54 loss to the Oregon State Beavers at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, OR.
After falling behind 10-1 and failing to score a basket until 7:58 remained in the opening 20 minutes, after setting a season-high in turnovers with more than 10 minutes remaining, the only question was whether Washington would avoid setting a record for the fewest points in a game in the Romar era.
The Huskies did, but only barely (the 2007 team scored 47 in a 75-47 loss at Washington State), but were defeated for the fifth consecutive time, all losses since Upshaw was tossed. This is Washington’s first five-game losing streak since Jan. 2-15, 2004, and UW’s next game is against nationally ranked Arizona, coming off a loss to Arizona State.
“They (Arizona) are going to be coming in with an attitude and we have to do the same thing,” said Romar, upset that his team failed to protect the ball.
“We didn’t do a good job of defending in the first half and we just gave up too much,” Romar said. “It was unacceptable on our end. Right now, we have to be the grittier team. We have to be the aggressor because we don’t have a lot of margin of error. If we continue to play casual, this is going to continue to happen. We.just have to be dialed in and concentrate and take care of the things we have to take care of.”
“They came out with a lot of energy and we were kind of flat, but we fought our way back and they got some momentum and put us away,” said Husky guard Andrew Andrews. “We have to be the quicker team on the floor. That’s something we have to work on. I give a lot of credit to the zone they were playing, they took away a lot of our shots.”
Although the Huskies (14-9, 3-8) couldn’t find the hoop for 12 minutes (they started 0-for-9), they trailed by only 21-18 at intermission, marking a season halftime low (19 points twice) and their 13 turnovers representing a halftime season high.
The Huskies, who defeated Oregon State 56-43 at Alaska Airlines Arena Jan. 15, gave up two quick baskets to open the second half and trailed 29-24 with 16:14 remaining after Shawn Kemp Jr. converted a layup. The Beavers went on a 10-1 run and that was the ball game.
Washington hit 35.7 percent of its field goal attempts and went 3-for-15 from 3-point range. With a season-high 22 turnovers, the Huskies didn’t give themselves a chance to win, as those turnovers translated into 17 Oregon State points.
Andrews, who converted only one shot in the first half, led the Huskies with 14 points. Nigel Williams-Goss finished with 13, as did Kemp.
Gary Payton II, son of the Sonics legend, scored 17 for Oregon State, which won easily despite getting outrebounded 32-24. Malcolm Duvivier added 14 and Jamal Reid 12 off the bench. Langston Morris-Walker tallied 11.
The Huskies return to Alaska Airlines Arena at 6 p.m. Friday to face nationally ranked Arizona (ESPN).