Washington men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar was succinct Tuesday.
“There is zero margin for error at this point,” Romar said. “Zero.”
It may simply be too late for the Huskies.
Washington (13-11, 5-6) has dropped six of its past seven games, including being swept on the road last week in Los Angeles.
Because of that trip, that ended with a 7 p.m. tip-off on Sunday night, Washington arrived back at campus at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning. Some players, such as C.J. Wilcox, had classes that started at 8:30 a.m. The Huskies took Monday off from practice and had a shorter-than-usual practice Tuesday, giving them just
one reduced day to prepare for 23rd-ranked Oregon, who visits Hec Edmundson Pavilion tonight.
“Just talk about the importance of staying the course right now and not allowing the losses to mount up to where they don’t sting as much,” Romar said. “We have to be ready to go. We have to make a stand at this point.”
When Washington was mired at 5-5 prior to the USC game, Romar pointed out that the Huskies had been 5-5 in conference play in the past and made the NCAA tournament both times.
Romar discussed that again Tuesday.
“The first time, I remember some guys just really started playing well that were inconsistent before,” Romar said. “There were certain guys that were playing that didn’t play as much. The adjustment with the personnel made all the difference in the world.
“Same thing the second time. I remember vividly a couple of guys just started really playing. They weren’t fighting themselves, they weren’t worried about minutes, just whatever it takes. But, I think with this group, it’s a little different. Me as a head coach, has to get our guys to understand how important possession is. And, defensively, how important it is to execute the (scouting report).”
Washington has been pounded down to the edge of the conference’s bottom tier. Only a trio of teams – Oregon State, Washington State and Utah, two of which have beaten Washington – at 2-9 are below the Huskies.
The route there has been odd. Washington was decimated by Colorado State in an 18-point home loss Nov. 24, 2012. The other 10 losses have come by an average of 6.2 points, leaving Romar, ever the optimist, believing a large turnaround could still be in the offing.
“We’re right there,” Romar said. “That’s why I refuse to believe it’s over. We’ve got to get that one (win that turns the season around).
“I thought it was the Arizona State one (a 96-92 win by Washington on Feb. 2), but it wasn’t.”
The players met without the coaches Tuesday. Senior point guard Abdul Gaddy, a Bellarmine Prep graduate, did most of the talking.
Despite the recent downward slide, Wilcox said he feels finger-pointing within the group has been minimal for a simple reason.
“It’s not just a single guy that you can just point a finger at,” Wilcox said. “It’s all of us collectively. We’re all making mistakes. We know that the whole team is the one to blame.”
Oregon (19-5, 8-3 Pacific-12 Conference) at Washington (13-11, 5-6)
8 p.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle
TV: ESPN2. Radio: 950-AM, 102.9-FM
All-time series: Washington leads, 187-106.
E.J. SinglerF18.104.22.168 41.384.2
Tony WoodsC10.23.60.4 53.470.2
Shawn Kemp Jr.F22.214.171.124 48.162.5
Aziz N’DiayeC10.79.80.3 61.643.7
Scouting report: As much as Washington has had turnover problems, Oregon is dealing with the same issue the past four games, during which it has lost three. The Ducks have averaged 17.8 turnovers per game in the past four and committed 23 against Washington the first time they played this season, an 81-76 win over the Huskies in Eugene. Part of Oregon’s turnover problem comes from the absence of injured freshman point guard Dominic Artis (foot) whom Ducks coach Dana Altman said is “doubtful” for tonight’s game. Expect E.J. Singler on C.J. Wilcox again and Oregon to be focused on stopping him, first and foremost. The Huskies also must do a better job in transition defense this time.
Next: Washington plays host to Oregon State at 8 p.m. Saturday (Root Sports).firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports email@example.com