This Associated Press photo captures the dagger heading for the Huskies' heart last night, as Mustafa Abdul-Hamid hits the winning shot over UW's Darnell Gant. Since Gant had the closest look at the play, I asked him today to describe the final two possessions: UW taking a one-point lead on Venoy Overton's full-court drive, and then losing it on Abdul-Hamid's buzzer-beater.
"What coach drew up was for Venoy to get the ball and just go. And he executed perfectly," Gant said. "But the thing that we messed up was we only had one person pressuring (UCLA’s inbound pass after). When we’re up one and there’s three second left, everybody should be up and trying to deny the ball. Mustafa caught it (near the sideline about a third of the way up the court) and just took it in. And what happened was he went with the pump fake and Venoy jumped. We had been taught as a team to stay down on pump fakes and we did it a lot during the course of the game, jumping on pump fakes. When I saw him shooting I just had to out there. There was nothing else to do, and the shot went in. It was a great shot."
Coach Lorenzo Romar also mentioned Huskies' leaving their feet too soon as one of the defensive weaknesses that did his team in. And he tied it to a lack of maturity his team has shown during its five losses in five road games.
"When we go on the road we have been distracted," Romar said. "I don’t mean off the court. I mean in the game we leave our feet more than we should have, we lunge and get out of position more than we should have. Maybe we don’t rotate as quickly as we need to."