Can Huskies take advantage of stretch against lightweights

  • By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:35pm
  • SportsSports

SEATTLE — Restoring the confidence of the University of Washington men’s basketball game might simply be a matter of finding the right opposition, and a 10-day stretch of winnable games could be just what the Huskies need.

Or is it really that simple?

With Thursday night’s game against crosstown rival and Division I up-and-comer Seattle University (3-3), followed by consecutive home games against Jackson State, Cal Poly and Northern Illinois, the Huskies have the elements of a four-game winning streak at hand. Those four teams have a combined 8-17 record. None of them was above .500 heading into Tuesday night’s action.

Of course, the Huskies, with their 4-4 record, aren’t exactly tearing it up, either.

As UW coach Lorenzo Romar said of Thursday night’s game against the SU Redhawks: “They’re 3-3, we’re 4-4, so I don’t know who’s better.”

The Huskies have gotten off to one of the worst starts in the Romar era — three non-conference home losses mark the most ever by a Romar-coached UW team. While the Huskies will find company in their misery during the next 10 days, they are also pretty desperate to get some victories.

“We just need to get a win; we want to win,” senior point guard Abdul Gaddy said. “We’ve just got to go out there and do what we’re supposed to do. We want to turn it around. We’re upset that we’re 4-4. We know that we can be really good.

“We’re just looking at the next opponent and trying to play as best we can so we can get a win. I don’t think any of us like losing in that locker room.”

Having already lost home games to Albany, Colorado State and Nevada, the Huskies can’t afford to lose in Seattle again — even if that means beating Seattle U. in a road game at KeyArena on Thursday. UW’s margin for error is best proven not by the recent losses but by some of the wins — the last three came by two points, five points and in overtime.

It was Gaddy who summed up the 2012-13 Huskies best Tuesday, saying: “We’re really good at times, and we’re really bad at times. We’ve just got to make sure bad isn’t bad.”

A loss Thursday would mark a new low, seeing as how UW has beaten Seattle U. seven consecutive times, dating back to a loss to the then-Chieftains in the 1978-79 season opener.

“I would imagine,” Romar offered Tuesday, “it (to Seattle U) is going to happen sooner or later; we’re going to keep playing them.”

Romar admitted that he doesn’t know quite what to expect out of his Huskies heading into Thursday’s game, but he has tried to impress upon the players that they can’t take any game for granted.

“We have to have the understanding of who we are,” Romar said. “We can’t walk out on the floor and win the game. We can’t wave a magic wand and win.”

The upcoming stretch looks promising for a UW team that has struggled with defensive consistency, injuries and adjusting to a new offensive system. After the Seattle U. game, the Huskies will play host to an 0-5 Jackson State team on Saturday, then bring 3-3 Cal Poly and 2-6 Northern Illinois in to town next week. Only Cal Poly, with its upset of UCLA last month, has beaten a team from one of the so-called power conferences this season.

Those games might look good on paper, but this year’s Huskies have been a pretty unpredictable group.

“When we feel like there’s a pretty big stage, or we’re in trouble, we tend to dig in and play a little better,” Romar said. “That tends to be our pattern. Good teams don’t have that pattern.”

With four games remaining before Pacific-12 Conference play begins, the Huskies still have a chance to close out their non-conference season on a high note.

“It’s frustrating for all of us,” said senior Scott Suggs, who returned from a foot injury to score 19 points in Saturday’s loss to Nevada. “But we’re working hard in practice to turn things around. We feel like it’s not a long shot to turn the season around. It’s just some small things, and we just need to pay attention to details.”

Of note

Romar said freshman point guard Andrew Andrews (ankle) is doubtful for both the Seattle U. game and Saturday’s game against Jackson State. … Suggs had some soreness in his foot late in the second half of Saturday’s loss to Nevada, but he said Tuesday that he’s feeling better and ready to play against Seattle U.

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