Here is everything Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after Washington’s 82-74 loss to USC on Wednesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) “That word pops up again: inconsistency. Sums up this entire game. Thought we did a really good job in the first half in a lot of ways and we came out in the second half extremely flat for whatever reason. Extremely flat. It’s something we talked about at halftime, about guarding against that, that this game wasn’t close to being over. But we did come out flat and turned the ball over far too many times. In that second half we turned the ball over (four) times in the first four minutes and that kind of set the tone. But while that was going on we weren’t active defensively. That was a bad combination. We fought back. We ended up taking the lead again, went up a couple of times, but didn’t finish it. Now we’ve had two games in a row where we played well and didn’t finish it.”
(What was so hard about getting the offense going in the final five minutes?) “I think we had turned the ball over so much, we were a little tentative out there. We began to settle for just 3-point shots. That made the difference. USC has good length, great anticipation, great athletes, and they’re quick to the ball, they get in those lanes. A lot of passes that have been getting through weren’t getting through tonight. They were getting their hands on it. That can start to play on your mind. Last few minutes, that seemed to be on our mind, where someone might be open and we’re a little tentative in making a pass.”
(After Matisse Thybulle’s 3-pointer, it seemed like you had a chance. What happened after that?) “Think it was 74-71 at that point. We weren’t able to get a stop. I forget who it was that scored at that point, but when the last few possessions … we just didn’t dig in and get grimy and make the plays that were necessary to win the game.”
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(What can this team do to get over the hump and win one of these close games?) “The answer is to win a few so that we can believe we can do it. You’ve got to win one. How do you do that? You’ve got to make the right plays down the stretch. You’ve got to take care of the ball, you’ve got to make shots, you’ve got to get stops. Got to make free throws. Arizona game, we didn’t make free throws. You’ve got to do those things. The last five minutes of a game you have to get stops, you can’t turn the ball over and you’ve got to make your free throws. If you do those three things, you have a good chance to do all right.”
(Does it baffle you that your team would come out flat with that kind of a lead against that kind of team?) “When we were in the locker room at halftime, I would say we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. Too good. We obviously didn’t understand that much more work was going to be required to come out on top.”
(On not having a guy with toughness who will lead the team to a win) “Our guys on this team are really close, and I think good teams have a couple guys, one guy that’s just going to get in somebody’s face. We haven’t really done that yet.”
(Is that because of who they are? Are they not capable of doing it?) “I would like to think we have someone that is capable of it but we have not done it yet. So, two-thirds of the season is behind us.”
(On Markelle Fultz’s big plays in the first half) “Markelle being Markelle. Making big plays. He got it going from 3. I think he was 4-for-4 in the first half from the 3-point line. That was good to see.”
(Do you think his teammates looked to him to do something too much?) “There we go with that question again. ‘Why doesn’t Markelle take over at the end of the game?’ ‘Well, were they depending too much on Markelle?’ No. It wasn’t that. We became tentative. We settled. We weren’t determined to get the ball inside, to drive the ball inside. We weren’t determined to do it. We just settled.”
(On Sam Timmins showing more improvement) “Sam was really a presence in the first half, just around the rim. He had six or seven rebounds in the first half. You could just feel him out there. That really helps us if Sam’s going to continue to play like that. That’s two consecutive games where he’s made some improvements and helped us.”