BY Andrew Harvey 12:32AM 02/19/2016

Poor shooting sends Huskies to another loss

The Huskies went down 10 late in the game, but a late chance to tie went awry in the final seconds. Cal sent UW to its fourth loss in a row, 78-75.

Washington’s Dejounte Murray says he hasn’t “lost his swagger,” despite a recent cold streak. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Thursday’s Hec Ed contest between the University of Washington men’s basketball team and the California Golden Bears looked like a race between two motorists frantically trying to start their cars to escape an approaching storm.

The Huskies were the more rattled, losing 78-75, their fourth in  a row, despite numerous chances in the late going. The most critical were two missed free throws by Matisse Thybulle with 0:04 remaining. The Huskies were 4-of-17 from beyond the arc, their third-worst three-point shooting performance in conference play.

“We have lost our margin for error (to make the tournament),” said coach Lorenzo Romar. “We don’t have very many opportunities to not come out on top right now and get an at-large bid. It’s still there, it’s still in sight, but we can’t make little mistakes.”

“I thought we did a lot of things tonight that allow you to win a ball game . . . but we missed a lot of easy shots.”

If it weren’t for Andrew Andrews, Thybulle wouldn’t have had an opportunity to take his free throws. Down 10 with 2:39 remaining, Andrews hit a pair of three-pointers with under a minute to play to bring Washington (15-11, 7-7 Pac-12) to within one with 0:08 remaining. After California’s (18-8, 8-5 Pac-12) Tyrone Wallace converted his first but missed his second free throw for a 77-75 lead, Thybulle was fouled in pursuit of the rebound.

As the first shot released from Thybulle’s hands, it seemed like the 61.3 percent shooter, six-for-six to that point, had it, but the ball rolled around the rim and came back out, leaving the Huskies out of good options. After his second miss, Cal added another free throw, leaving Andrews with a fruitless 60-foot heave at the buzzer.

Still, Thybulle’s shot was not what left the Huskies by the side of the road. Eight missed first-half free throws were decisive, as well as a slow night from Dejounte Murray, who has hit five shots or fewer from the field in Washington’s past four games.

Murray defended his recent performances, saying that he can still get the job done.

“I feel like I never lost my swagger,” he said. “A lot of people say that kind of stuff. The media expect me to score 30 points a game, and call that ‘swagger,’ but I don’t know what it is.”

Murray’s recent struggles are not the sole reason the Huskies are losing. Problems with big men persist. Jalen Brown, a big man, led the Golden Bears with 23 points. A forward has been the leading scorer each of the losses.

Still, the Huskies did plenty right. They blocked eight shots, and won the turnover battle 16-7. They were outrebounded 54-44, but they came away with more offensive rebounds than the Golden Bears, despite California having two seven-footers.

Washington even largely avoided foul trouble, one of its greatest weaknesses. Marquese Chriss, who has fouled out 12 times, didn’t pick up his first foul until 6:43 remained in the first half.

This time, marksmanship betrayed the Huskies. Washington shot 32.9 percent from the field, and was 2-of-15 from three-point range before Andrews drained the late threes.

“I’m tired of saying ‘we’ve got to move on,’” said Murray. “But there’s no choice. I feel like we’ll be fine. We’ve just got to stay together in these moments, because we’ve already had these conversations.”

If they can shock themselves back into shooting consistently, the Huskies can get back in the race.

In Romar’s words, the Huskies have to get over the hump, but they have only four games left. Washington hosts Stanford at 5 p.m. Saturday (Pac-12 Networks).


Washington’s eight blocks helped them breakthe school single-season record of 179. The Huskies have 183 . . . Junior Malik Dime made his first career start, scoring Washington’s first six points, finishing with eight points and three blocks.


  • David Michel

    shot selection was atrocious. This team plays to helter skelter. Barely run an offense, and do not get good shots, nor do they make good decisions.

    • mrRef63

      yes exactly! If they had any discipline to their offense they might be able to win some of these games. Also, they simply don’t play defense well and their rebounding leaves much to be desired! You simply cannot play with a lack of discipline in the PAC 12 and expect to win!

  • MrPrimeMinister

    The program is at a crossroads. Tough call. If romar was going to do anything, he would have achieved it by now. On the other hand, they could bring in a dooch like pitino. On the other hand, they’ve already had vanoy.

    • jafabian

      Disagree the program is at a crossroads. It’s made huge improvements in it’s environment and culture and they’ve been competitive all season. They have a solid recruiting class coming in next season as well and will only lose Andrews to graduation. Predicting an even better season for 2016-2017.

      • Joe_Fan

        Romar is a coach who’s time has past. I thought he should have been fired last year. I get and understand he is a good guy, and has had success in the past here, but going as long as we have without being in the tournament is ridiculous. Being a good coach means recruiting well and coaching up your players consistently year in and year out, and not having 4 or 5 year dry spells. The length of and $$ on his contract is what has saved him to this point in my opinion.

      • MrPrimeMinister

        We must have differing ideas on what progress is. With Romar, I am not seeing it. In fact, one could build a strong case for regression. The thing in his favor is that football will always be king at this university–and many people don’t care.

  • Realist

    It’s a shame Romar had the early success that he did at UW. If his first four seasons were swapped with his most recent four, he would have been canned long before taking the Huskies to three Sweet Sixteens in six Big Dance appearances, winning the program’s first outright regular season conference championship since 1953 (in 2009, and then doing it again three years later), and winning UW’s first conference tourney title (and then repeating that feat twice).

    Husky basketball was a cesspool of mediocrity from the time Hall of Famer Marv Harshman was forced out until Lorenzo arrived in 2002. Remember the Andy Russo-Lynn Nance-Bob Bender churn? No? Consider yourself lucky.

    In Romar’s soon-to-be 14 complete seasons (barring an unforseeable late-season run this year), he has taken his squad to the NCAA tournament six times – although it should be seven times but for the selection committee’s insanity in 2012 (first time a power conference regular season champ didn’t receive a bid). That’s basically every other year that the Dawgs have gone dancing.

    If you think Romar’s holding the program back, you’re not paying attention.

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