Here’s what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after his team’s 80-75 overtime loss to Utah on Sunday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) “Well, tough one. Utah is a team that we talked about that you have to literally take the game from them. They won’t hand it over to you. And we weren’t able to do that tonight. I thought defensively, in the first half we were very good. Our guys did a really good job. But we couldn’t make shots. In the second half, it was a complete turnaround. Both of us made shots. We were just going back and forth, and I thought that was a pivotal point in the game, when we weren’t able to get stops. If we were able to get stops like we were in the first half, maybe we go up six to eight, and that pace changes a little bit. … I felt like there were too many times where we weren’t active enough defensively, and allowed them to throw the ball wherever they wanted to throw it. But they’re a good team, and that’s what we talked to our team about.”
(More silly fouls ...) “Yeah, we had a few of those. That was unfortunate. We’ve got to keep working at that, and we’ve got to get better at it.”
(On defending Jakob Poeltl) “The first half, I thought we did a pretty good job on him. the second half, all of that stuff happened. That’s a pattern that we talked to our team about at halftime. We’ve done this several times, going back to Arizona, where we played pretty good defense in the first half, and in the second half we don’t do as good of job. They took advantage of it. Several times, there were blown coverages on the backside where we should have been there, where in the first half, we were there. We were in great position. But we weren’t as much in the second half. We talked to our team during the timeout, during free throws, during dead balls – ‘guys, we’re walking around like we’re in slow motion.’ We just for whatever reason weren’t as active in that second half, and that allowed all kinds of things to happen. I don’t think (Brandon) Taylor or (Jordan) Loveridge had made a 3 in the first half, and Taylor finally made one and Loveridge hit three. I thought that was just a reflection of how our defense was in the second half. And again, Utah is one of those teams, if you have lapses, they’re going to burn you.”
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(On David Crisp’s game-tying 3-pointer) “He’s done it before a few times this year. He’s done it before. He’s a gamer. When the game’s on the line, he can hit. He can not only take, but he can hit big shots.”
(On the possession late in overtime that resulted in a shot-clock violation) “Took a little longer than we wanted it to take. We’re able to usually get that and get it going, but that obviously took a little too long. There were a couple possessions in the second half that I thought were crucial. We had them trapped one time on a ball screen and they were out near halfcourt and we allowed the guy too much room, he found a guy for a 3. We were up four at the time. And another time I think we were up two and we went one possession of zone and we blew a coverage and they hit a 3. I thought those were big plays.”
(On shot selection) “In the first half, I thought we took great shots. They weren’t going down. In the overtime period, in the beginning, I didn’t think we took very good shots, early in the overtime.”
(On valuing each possession) “I think what we talked to our team about is, these games are marathons. They’re not sprints. And every possession is crucial, and you go the first four or five minutes in that second half, where we weren’t up and as active as we needed to be, and they took advantage of it. So we’ll be able to again tell our team, as we continue to tell our team – you have to play every possession in these games.”
(On having that mindset but still trying to create havoc and push tempo) “That’s part of the marathon. We weren’t doing the things that allowed us to do that. Defensively, if we want to do that the entire time, we’ve got to get up and we’ve got to be creating havoc, and we weren’t doing that at all. That’s what the marathon is about – play Husky basketball so we can dictate the tempo of the game, but we didn’t do that.”
(On the crowd) “Our crowd was unbelievable tonight. It’s the biggest crowd we’ve had, and the Dawg Pack, I think there were 1,100, I was told. They were out there early and man, it certainly helped our team. I think they fueled the fire with our guys a lot. When our guys hit some shots and came back, you could just see how loud it was and how uplifted our guys were. So it wasn’t the crowd’s fault. It wasn’t the Dawg Pack’s fault, for sure.”
(On the upcoming road trip to UCLA and USC) “Going to be a big challenge. We have two teams that probably felt they should have won both games when they were here, especially USC. They’re going to come out ready. But I really feel confident about our team. I’m not telling you we’re going to go undefeated, but I feel like any game we walk into, we’re going to step up to the challenge and try to meet that challenge.”
(What gives you that belief?) “Things that we’ve done. We’ve played 19 games, I think, and a lot of these games, it just seems like … we lose like we did at Arizona, we come back and play a great game against Arizona State. We go on the road, we win a game at Washington State in overtime. We come back from 22 points against a very, very good USC team and win. We win a double overtime game. The first win we had (against) Texas, people forget about that, but that game was sloppy and all kinds of things were going on, but our team played hard and got after it. We were able to come up with the victory. We go to China, we go to the Bahamas, all that stuff, and yet we’ve been able to come back a lot of times and play well. That’s why. There’s a large sample size as to why I believe in this team.”
(On this being a missed opportunity) “Definitely. Definitely. It was a golden opportunity. It’s a home game. You just can’t give those away. Those are precious. But I look up, we’re still at the top of the league. I know we’re tied, but we’re still at the top of the league. Like I said, I really believe this team will continue to get better every week.”
(On Utah limiting Andrew Andrews) “I forget who I was talking to, and somebody, the opposition’s top scorer had like eight points against them or something, and they said, ‘well, I guess that guy didn’t come to play.’ I said, no. You watch Utah’s games, a lot of times, they do a great job with the leading scorers and limit them. That’s kind of how they do it. I thought in the second half – I mean, Andrew scored 15 points in the second half, so I thought he adjusted and he found a way and started scoring.”