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Beach’s Bits: Loss Stings But Heads Held High

Despite an inspired opening to the game, the Washington Huskies’ season-long warts ultimately doomed their Pac-12 quarterfinal effort against the conference champion Oregon Ducks.

Washington rode the hot shooting of David Crisp and Dejounte Murray early, as Crisp connected on three triples and the Huskies surged to a 26-14 lead. 

It wouldn’t last.  

After out-rebounding Stanford in their opening round victory, the Huskies were clobbered on the boards by Oregon’s bouncy front line.  Outworked and outmuscled, the Ducks dominated the Huskies on the glass 46 to 33, particularly flexing their muscles on the offensive end where they earned a 17-8 rebounding edge and outscored UW 42-26 in the paint.

“Oregon did a great job on the backboard, second-chance points and penetration,” said a glassy-eyed Lorenzo Romar after the game. “(Chris) Boucher I think, had seven offensive rebounds, and in a game that close, that can certainly make a difference.”

Hampered by early foul trouble, Andrew Andrews was mostly a non-factor during the first half, scoring just two points. But he made up for it the second half, nearly completing Washington’s late-game comeback, dropping 17 points the final 20 minutes. It was a disappointing end for the first four-year player in the Lorenzo Romar era to not earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. 

“To look at this season as a failure would be kind of dumb on our part,” said Andrews after the game. “You just take everything and learn from it. “We had an incredible season. I said we beat all the odds as far as what the media thought and what the coaches thought. I couldn’t be prouder of the guys in this locker room.” 

“This group, they’re just right,” added Romar, matter-of-factly.  “They do the right things. when you have a group like that, you want them to be rewarded. You want to see them reach their dreams. When you have a special group like that and it doesn’t happen, it hurts”

Unlike the day before where everything went right, the Huskies came out flat to open the second half. Oregon ratcheted up the pressure, double-teaming Murray and Crisp as soon as they crossed half court.  The pressure worked, as the Huskies uncharacteristically coughed up the ball 10 times for the half.

The miscues resulted in 17 Oregon points.

Andrews wasn’t ready to mail it in yet.  With the Huskies down nine with six minutes left, the Huskies' captain drilled a three-pointer to cut the lead to 6, then buried two free throws and canned another three.

The fifth-year senior was front and center on Romar’s mind after the game.

“(Andrews) was sitting alone in the locker-room and it just kind of hit,” said Romar. “He busted his tail.  Know one thought Andrew Andrews would do what he did this year. He gave it all he had.”

Andrews reflected on the season during the press conference after the game. His thoughts shifted to the post-season, though the Huskies' slim chance of earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament ended with Thursday's loss.

“I think we needed one more big win on our resume,” he said. “So this one would have helped a lot, Oregon being a Top-10 team in the country and possibly being a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“As far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned, if it happens, it happens,” Andrews added.  “I don’t know any basketball player in the world that doesn’t want to continue playing basketball. I would love to play in the NIT.”

Romar was asked about next season and the looming draft questions that will inevitably surround Murray and fellow freshman Marquese Chriss.

“I think we have a group of guys coming in, sitting out, guys with more experience," said Romar. "We’ll wait and see what happens with all of that (NBA draft) but I like our group.

“Today is not fun. Tomorrow won’t be fun, but if our name is called Sunday to go play, we’ll get excited about it. We’ll raise up again."


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