After falling behind by 11 points with a lame first half, Washington surged twice after intermission but couldn’t overcome USC, losing 98-88 Saturday at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Huskies (14-7, 6-3), who fell from first place into a tie for second in the Pac-12 race, could not stay with the Trojans, who forced Andrew Andrews into one of the weakest performances of his season (box).
Andrews, who entered as the Pac-12′s leading scorer at 21.3 points per game, had his second consecutive off-night (12 points at UCLA Thursday), hitting 3 of 14 from 2-point range and 2-for-6 behind the arc for 15 points. USC’s Julian Jacobs put the clamps on Andrews, who scored the first basket of the game and then went 19 minutes without a point, a drought from which UW could not recover.
Washington cut the lead to 57-54 at the 13:25 mark, but the Trojans went on a 17-7 run to effectively end it. Washington played from seven to 13 points behind the rest of the game as big center Nikola Jovanovic crushed the Huskies with a season-high 28 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 21. Washington missed 12 of its final 14 shots.
“It was unfortunate. We didn’t make good decisions on the defensive end and we were not able to play through it. USC is a very explosive basketball team. Every time we made a mistake they made us pay. We had too many blown coverages and a lot of breakdowns. Sometimes you can get away with it, but not today” – UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
“Teams are keying on Andrew. They are clogging up the middle on him” — Romar.
“We weren’t as locked in as we should have been. We let them get to the rim and get some kick-out threes. They took advantage” — UW freshman Marquese Chriss.
The Huskies shot only 36.4 percent from 2-point range and missed a staggering 24 3-point shots . . . As bad, the Huskies lost the board battle, 42-36 . . . Chriss and Dejounte Murray led Washington with 18 points each and Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulle both tallied eight . . . Washington did a poor job defensively, allowing the Trojans to hit 51.7 percent of their shots while yielding the second-highest point total of the season. The Huskies gave up 99 at Arizona Jan. 18 . . . The Huskies recorded only three blocks. They entered averaging 7.1, tops in the nation . . . Washington defeated USC 87-85 in Seattle Jan. 3 after erasing a 22-point deficit in the final 14 minutes . . . The Huskies missed out on an opportunity to sweep USC and UCLA for the first time in a season since 2006.
Washington returns to Alaska Airlines Arena at 8 p.m. Wednesday to face Arizona State (ESPNU).