Washington escaped with a win in the first meeting in Seattle, but must play better on the road to beat ASU.
By Todd Dybas
The News Tribune
TEMPE, Ariz. — Three days removed from its most embarrassing loss of the season, Washington will try to piece back together its collapsed ego.
Arizona appeared to be running a layup line once the second half started in Tucson on Wednesday night. The Wildcats went up by 22 points as the blood pressure of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar increased along with the deficit.
Romar verbally battered his team during a second-half timeout in a way he had not all season. Still miffed after the game, he said the Huskies played with a lack of pride during the start of the second half.
“We didn’t guard like we should have, but that was a byproduct of the core of the matter,” Romar said. “We didn’t go out and compete in the second half.”
Now, the Huskies have to dispatch that devastation and deal with a resurgent Arizona State team.
Washington’s 96-92 win over the Sun Devils at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Feb. 2, is on the short list of quality wins by the Huskies this season. The 96 points were revelatory for a team that is averaging 67.8 points per game and shooting 43.3 percent from the field.
It was also the point in the season Romar thought the Huskies had turned the corner.
Not so fast.
Washington is 2-8 in its past 10 games and 1-4 since that win in what is quickly becoming a lost season. The Huskies have tweaked the starting lineup. They have also juggled combinations on the floor and little has changed.
What worked well for one night was inside scoring against Arizona State. Shawn Kemp Jr. abused the smaller Jonathan Gilling on his way to 18 points. Aziz N’Diaye did the same to 7-footer Jordan Bachynski. N’Diaye was 7 for 8 from the field for 16 points. Arizona State had one offensive rebound in the game.
Washington was unable to handle Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson, a concern Romar hopes the Huskies can address today. The freshman scored a career-high 32 points against the Huskies, the most they have allowed to an individual this season.
“We didn’t play very good defense in that game, but we shot 52 percent and we were still able to get it done,” Romar said. “We have to defend better this time.”