Washington men’s basketball team hopes to show improvement vs. Cal

  • By Christian Caple The News Tribune
  • Friday, February 14, 2014 9:33pm
  • SportsSports

SEATTLE — Upon reflection, coach Lorenzo Romar still doesn’t find much positive about the basketball game his Washington Huskies played at California on Jan. 15.

That 82-56 loss in Berkeley wasn’t pretty then, and it doesn’t look much better in retrospect.

“No one got hurt,” Romar said Friday, a day ahead of UW’s rematch against the Golden Bears at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. “That would probably be it. It wasn’t a very positive night for the Huskies.”

But Romar accurately notes that this is “a different game, different time,” as Cal visits UW at noon today. It will also be played in a different location, at Hec Ed, where the Huskies haven’t lost to a Pac-12 opponent this season and have mostly looked like an entirely different team than the one that almost always loses on the road.

So no, Romar said, he doesn’t think his players are affected in any particular psychological fashion by the 26-point whupping the Golden Bears (16-8, 7-4 in Pac-12) applied at Haas Pavilion last month. Just like Colorado didn’t seem all that shaken by a 17-point road loss to UW. The Buffaloes won the rematch in Boulder last week by 26 points. And Stanford, which defeated the Huskies by 12 in Palo Alto, lost a 64-60 decision at Hec Ed on Wednesday.

“We’ve been in positions like this on both ends, where we have beaten a team pretty convincingly and the next time it’s a different story, and vice versa,” Romar said. “So psychologically, every team takes it different.”

The Huskies (14-11, 6-6) are likely more concerned about matching up with the Golden Bears’ lengthy, athletic frontcourt tandem of Richard Solomon and David Kravish. The duo had their way with UW in the first meeting.

On that day, Solomon and Kravish combined for 24 points, 23 rebounds and five blocked shots — four by Kravish — and held the Huskies to just 26 points in the paint.

“For whatever reason, that night we were avoiding contact,” Romar said. “We weren’t as aggressive for whatever reason. I don’t think Cal’s front line is any bigger than Stanford’s front line, or Arizona’s front line, or Jordan Bachynski at Arizona State.

“For whatever reason, we didn’t attack like we usually attack. Give them a lot of credit. I thought David Kravish was very aggressive on the defensive end. … Him and Richard Solomon just seemed to be all over the place.”

Romar said he won’t make any changes to the starting lineup, despite getting positive results by mixing up the rotation during Wednesday’s victory over Stanford. In that game, starting guard Andrew Andrews played just five minutes — none in the second half — while Romar stuck mostly with a core group that inlcuded guards Nigel Williams-Goss, C.J. Wilcox and Mike Anderson, and forwards Desmond Simmons and Perris Blackwell.

Andrews, who has made 4-of-26 from the field in his past three games, will remain in the starting lineup today, Romar said. The aforementioned five players should also see plenty of minutes together.

Andrews, a sophomore, handled his time on the bench about as well as could be expected, Romar said, noting that he was supportive of his teammates and continued to communicate with the coaching staff throughout the second half.

Romar said the expectation for today, then, is that he’ll “bounce back, and be relentless, and come out and play well.”

After what happened in Berkeley, that’s a fine mission for the rest of the team, too.

Tip-ins

Asked to name four players he’d include on a Mount Rushmore of UW basketball, Romar listed Brandon Roy, Bob Houbregs and Detlef Schrempf. He couldn’t decide on a fourth. … Romar said freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who has been nursing a hip ailment, is still sore but will continue to play through it. “It was really getting better to where it was almost a thing of the past,” Romar said, “then he got hit in that (Stanford) game … He’ll be OK. He’ll just be sore.” … Of Williams-Goss and his credentials as a Pac-12 Freshman of the Year candidate (13.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.0 apg), Romar said: “I think he has to be in the discussion. What he’s done for us as a freshman, he has to be in the discussion.”

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