FROM BOULDER -- As he always does, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar met with reporters after practice today to preview tomorrow's game at Colorado. Here's what he had to say ...
(Last two practices?) “They’ve been good. Our guys have come out with a lot of energy and been dialed in the two practices that we’ve had. I liked our effort and I liked our focus.”
(Thoughts on Utah game?) “Very similar – second half kind of mirrored the WashingtonState game. I felt like in the WashingtonState game, we were up eight and if we were able to get stops, we could have been up 12-14. But we didn’t. The game against Utah, it was tied, it was two points, it was tied, it was two points for nine straight minutes during that time. If we would have been able to get enough stops, I thought we could have pulled out to about eight in that instance, but we didn’t. We didn’t get the stops when it was necessary and then we went in a drought where we weren’t getting stops and weren’t making shots, and that was a bad combination on the road.”
(Is poor defense becoming a trend?) “It’s been a trend in that in the second half, we’ve been fading defensively. We’ve done a decent job in the first half, but then we begin to fade defensively in that second half, and that’s a trend that needs to stop immediately.”
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(How do you fix it?) “We’ve talked a lot about what we were not doing and why we weren’t getting stops in the game. And for our guys to actually be able to understand it and review it and go back and make a renewed commitment to not allowing that to happen again, that’s kind of how we’ve dealt with it. The situations have not been where we’ve been outmatched or overpowered and then we’ve got to come up with some gimmick way to compete. It’s just a matter of us maintaining our focus every possession because if we took an exam on where we’re supposed to be in this situation, we’d get 100 percent. But now we have to apply it on the fly. I should say apply it on the fly when we’re fatigued or things aren’t going well. That’s what I think happens sometimes. We get fatigued or things aren’t going well and we get distracted a little bit.”
(Do you talk to Andrew Andrews after a poor shooting night like that, or does he not need it?) “A guy named Larry Hollyfield from Compton, played at UCLA, he’s kind of a mentor for me. I’ll never forget at the gym, he told me, I was making a bunch of shots, kind of in a zone, then I took like a fall-away, 25-footer and missed. And he told me on the side ‘when you’re in a zone, keep taking good shots, or else you’ll be out of your zone.’ I think the same thing applies if you’re not knocking shots down – just be patient and wait for the next good one to come, and they’ll eventually go in.”
(Do you need to get 12-14 points out of him to win these kind of games?) “Well, whomever it’s going to come from. We had the OregonState game when Nigel scored 32 and helped C.J. Let’s remember at home, Andrew scored eight straight points in the second half down the stretch. He might have ended up with 19 points, stepped up there. So it has shown it has come from different people on any given night, but we do need to have multiple guys step up.”
(How is Colorado different without Spencer Dinwiddie?) “They’ve made some adjustments offensively and defensively, just some tweaks here and there. I think some other guys are stepping up. I think (Xavier) Talton is looking to be more aggressive. I think Xavier Johnson is looking to be more aggressive, and they do want to give a lot of looks to (Josh) Scott down low.”
(How much do you look at your last game against them?) “A little bit, just to make sure because right now they can tell you exactly what we do and they’re probably right. You can pull any team up and say this is what they do and everybody would say yeah, that’s what they do. So we look more, ok, last time, what worked against them? What didn’t work against them? Where were we deficient last time, and let’s try to shore that up this time.”
(What is your team’s identity?) “It should be on the defensive end, but I think there was a stretch there when we started out when we were 3-1, I think we were in total belief that defense is going to win the game. We got away from that a little bit, so right now we’re kind of in limbo. There were parts to he game … I think in the Utah game, our identity was on the defensive side, but we don’t maintain that for 40 minutes. We haven’t in the more recent games here. The last four or five games, we probably haven’t.”
(Will you use the four-guard lineup again?) “It’s kind of game to game. Utah goes smaller with (Jordan) Loveridge at the four. A team like ArizonaState when (Jonathan) Gilling was a the 4, we’ll probably go more 4-guard lineup then. Now I think with Shawn (Kemp) having regained his strength and Desmond (Simmons) started out playing really well, when teams have two bigger guys, we probably will look to play that way more.”
(Sense of urgency?) “It’s a point of very, very little margin for error. That’s where we are right now. Just not a whole lot of margin for error. You better win the games you’re supposed to win.”
(Earlier, you told your players to look at the standings because they were winning …) “We’re back to talking about Colorado. That’s all we’ve talked about here is just Colorado. Again, the only reason I brought up the standings before was to point to our team how far we had come. To make sure we understood how far we had come, and hopefully that brings some motivation to hold on to what we’ve done. We’ve worked so hard to get here, look what we’ve done. Let’s work hard to hold onto it. But now we’re back in more of a hole. So we’ve got to worry about Colorado.”