Huskies can't stop UCLA
Washington (16-14, 8-9) was led by the 20 points of C.J. Wilcox. Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews each had 17 points for the Huskies, while Perris Blackwell was the other UW player in double-figures with 13. Blackwell also came up with 10 rebounds coming off the bench while Williams-Goss tallied eight assists on the night.
"Well, that was a classic example of playing against a team that is very talented that capitalizes on every mistake that you make," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. "That's what UCLA did to us tonight."
It didn't start out that way, as the Huskies shot nearly 59 percent in the first half to take a 45-41 lead. They had held on to the ball well, giving up only four turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play. But an Adams layup tied the game at 45 and another layin by Adams gave UCLA a one-point lead with 16:41 remaining.
The game went back and forth, with the Bruins going up by six but the Huskies reeling off six-straight to tie the game at 62 after a Blackwell layin with 11:27 left in the game.
The UW senior center was in position to take a charge on Adams the next play down the floor, but the referees called it a block, to the dismay of the 6894 fans in attendance. Romar was apoplectic, pleading his case from the far side of the gym, but to no avail.
Adams took the opportunity to make two free throws and then continued to work, scoring six of UCLA's next 13 points as they pulled away to a 75-66 lead after a Bryce Alford three in front of the Bruins' bench found nothing but net.
"We had too many breakdowns in the half court where when we switched we weren't on the same page," Romar said. "And that's something that shouldn't happen because we've done a good job of it in practice - but for whatever reason there was a point in the second half we began to not totally trust each other on the defensive end. That made a big difference in the game in the second half.
"And again, you can make that mistake with some other teams and not pay for it, but against those guys you're going to pay. When we review the film we'll see several opportunities we had to sprint back, but we didn't sprint back and get to the level of the ball like we always talk about. Or we weren't organized when the shot went up, getting to where we were supposed to be in terms of our safety and the guy picking up the ball. I think we'll find that happened several times in this game, watching the film."
The Huskies, like they've done all season long, came storming back, eventually getting the game back to 79-75 after two Wilcox free throws. But LaVine, the frosh from Bothell High, came up big with a running layin from the left channel, getting fouled by Wilcox in the process - his fourth on the night.
"I didn't want to get out earlier than I did," Wilcox admitted afterward. "It definitely affected how I played defense."
LaVine didn't make the and-1, but that play was just the start. He scored nine points in that crucial stretch, including seven in a row to widen UCLA's lead to 89-79 with a minute to play.
"Zach went for a while with one bucket, and then I thought he hit one of the biggest shots for them driving left with the and-1," Romar said. "C.J. picked up his fourth foul on that play. It was crucial because we were knocking at the door at that point, and he allowed them to separate themselves again. Zach is very explosive - great size, great quickness…good guard."
Just as it was at Washington State back in February, Washington had a chance to position themselves well in the Pac-12 standings, but missed a golden chance Thursday night. Winning the conference tournament is still their only hope of playing in the Big Dance, but after this loss the season will most likely be talked about as the season of what could have been.
"We had an opportunity again to do well tonight and do well on Saturday and we could have finished as high as a four-seed," Romar said. "We allowed that to slip through our fingers tonight.
"It's one thing about this game, you have two choices; you can sulk about it and it gets worse the next time, or you can turn the page, rally up, and come back and play better. That's what we're going to do."
Points: Wilcox 20, Williams-Goss 17, Andrews 17, Blackwell 13, Johnson 8, Kemp 4, Anderson 2, Simmons 1
Rebounds: Blackwell 10, Simmons 5, Wilcox 3, Kemp 2, Williams-Goss 2, Andrews 2, Anderson 2, TEAM 2
Assists: Williams-Goss 8, Simmons 2, Andrews 2, Wilcox 2, Johnson 1, Anderson 1
Steals: Simmons 1, Kemp 1, Williams-Goss 1, Andrews 1
Lorenzo Romar Post-Game Video/Quotes - HERE
C.J. Wilcox/Nigel Williams-Goss Post-Game Video/Quotes - HERE
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