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Washington hoops dilemma: to run or not to run

Huskies have lacked a transition game while focusing on its new halfcourt offense

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By Scott M. Johnson
Herald Writer
Published:
SEATTLE -- To run, or not to run. That is the question for the University of Washington men's basketball team in the first year of the high-post offense.
The Huskies (2-2) have always been an up-tempo, transition team, and coach Lorenzo Romar promised shortly after installing the new halfcourt offense that this year's squad would be no different. And yet there have been times, particularly in UW's two losses, when the Huskies can't seem to get out into the open court.
"We're not using our speed and quickness that we do have," freshman guard Andrew Andrews said Tuesday, two days after the Huskies failed to score a single fast-break point in a loss to fourth-ranked Ohio State. "But that's just adjusting to the new offense."
The high-post offense, which is primarily played in a halfcourt set and is used by teams with big men who can pass the ball to open shooters on the wings, is still a work in progress for the Huskies. Junior C.J. Wilcox admitted Tuesday that the UW players are not totally running the system like it's supposed to go.
"At times it works well," he said, "when we actually run it. Sometimes we break away from it."
Wilcox went on to explain that the players often fall back on old patterns if they see a hole in the defense, rather than running the new system like they've been coached.
What's been even more of an adjustment for UW is taking advantage of fast breaks when they're available. In losses to Ohio State and Albany, the Huskies scored a total of six points on fast breaks.
"I think we're still playing fast," Romar said. "But we need to do a better job of stopping teams on the defensive end so we can get out and run."
The Huskies got out and ran to 20 fast-break points in a season-opening win against Loyola (Md.) and had 12 more in Saturday's overtime win over Seton Hall. Romar called the Seton Hall performance "pretty close to how we want to play."
Sunday's loss to Ohio State, Romar added, was more about what the Buckeyes were doing defensively. He said that Ohio State has a tendency to slow opponents down and dictate the tempo.
When UW did get into a halfcourt offense Sunday, the Huskies got some open looks but failed to knock them down. The Huskies did hit 9-of-18 shots from 3-point range in that game but shot just 46.7 percent from inside the 3-point arc.
At some point, the Huskies hope to be a team that can thrive both in transition and in the halfcourt game.
"We've got to get the mentality that we're still a running team," Wilcox said, "but when that doesn't happen, then we get into (the) high-post (offense)."
Notes
The Huskies have the holiday off before returning for a Saturday home game against Colorado State. ... Romar said that senior Scott Suggs strained an arch in his foot in Sunday's game, keeping him out of practices this week. Suggs "should be fine by Saturday," Romar said Tuesday afternoon.
Story tags » Huskies Basketball

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