For two days leading up to Wednesday's 74-66 loss to Oregon State, Washington talked about the ball screens Oregon State would set at the top when running its motion. The Huskies were told not to go under them against Ahmad Starks, Roberto Nelson and Olaf Schaftenaar. Then the game started. Oregon State set screens out top and Washington guards went under the screens.
Lorenzo Romar called timeout with Washington trailing 7-1 after Starks made a deep two and a 3-pointer in the game's first 2:10.
"it was mind-boggling why we would do that," Romar said.
That it is. Washington has a rotation full of experience, yet, in the last two games, it has had consistent mental breakdowns on offense and defense. A team that at one time ran crisp offense hardly got into its sets in the first half on Wednesday
As a result, Washington trailed 34-14 after Oregon State's Devon Collier dunked on a four on none break.
The Huskies, formerly 4-0 in conference play, have not led a game for 80 minutes, losing back-to-back games against teams previously winless in the conference.
"It’s a matter of being determined we’re going to do the right thing," Romar said. "Being determined that we are going to do the things that we’ve done already. This isn’t something that one day, we’re going to be able to do it. We’ve done the right thing. For several weeks we did the right thing, and, out of nowhere we’ve lost that concentration, lost that edge. We’ve got to regain that."
Which leaves Washington staring at Saturday's game at Oregon (17-2, 6-0) as the one that will likely determine the direction of the season.
Washington has multiple troubling losses at this point -- from Albany to Nevada to Utah to Oregon State -- and no a-ha wins. The schedule is also about to get much tougher. Six of the remaining 12 Pac-12 games are against Oregon, Arizona and UCLA. Two others are against a competent ASU squad. Even USC has seen an uptick since the coaching change.
The better teams in the conference will not let Washington creep back into the game after being down 17 or 20 points the way Utah and Oregon State did. The Huskies pulled within a point twice in the second half on Wednesday, but never led. A third consecutive mundane effort to open a game will result in a blowout at Eugene.
A few quick thoughts and notes to wrap this one. You can hear and read what Lorenzo Romar had to say here.
> In a growing trend, C.J. Wilcox was the clear positive for Washington. He had 23 points, seven rebounds and an assist. Oregon State used 6-10 Eric Moreland on him quite a bit. Roberto Nelson also guarded him (and grabbed and held him throughout) and Jarmal Reid also guarded Wilcox. He was 4-for-11 from the 3-point line, which is where Oregon State wanted to chase him off of.
> Scott Suggs. Not sure what's going on with the fifth-year senior. He had four turnovers and four personal fouls to go with four field goals. One turnover he just threw the ball away from the top of the key when trying to reverse it. He had another pass earlier in the game that was nearly stolen and resulted in a questionable over-and-back call. His knee, which he tweaked in practice more than a week ago, was wrapped less than last game, when it was heavily taped up. He appeared to be wearing just a knee sleeve Wednesday.
> Desmond Simmons couldn't handle beefy Joe Burton. The Oregon State center, working in the paint at around three bills, used his frame to move Simmons around accordingly. Burton also took some of the craziest shots you will see in a college game. The last thing he is is boring.
> Abdul Gaddy was 6-for-12 from the field, including a running 30-footer as time expired to close the first half, for 14 points. He is 3-for-11 from behind the 3-point line in Pac-12 play. One of those makes was banked in and another was Wednesday's heave at the buzzer.
> Washington was 7-for-14 from the free-throw line. It made as many 3-pointers as free throws. Washington was shooting 71.6 percent at the free-throw line in conference play coming in. Romar said the poor shooting was yet another hit of Washington's lack of focus.
> Here's the take from Oregon State coach Craig Robinson. It was his first interview in days in which bangs were not a topic at one point or another:
|S. Kemp, Jr.||7||1-2||0-0||1-2||1||2||0||1||0||0||2||3|
|Percentages||.441||.389||.500||Team Rebounds: 2|
|Percentages||.472||.316||.692||Team Rebounds: 2|