Huskies Without Answers as ASU Rolls

TEMPE, Ariz. - When it rains, it pours - even in the desert. And for a Washington team desperately looking for some relief after losing by 11 at home to Oregon, they were hoping to get healthy against an Arizona State team that had just had its worst offensive output in nearly 60 years. What they got was a 68-51 spanking at the hands of Sparky and ASU Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

"We've gone through worse times and ended up OK," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. "Our ultimate goal is to play the best we can play and let the wins and losses take care of themselves. That's a goal we can't give up. We have to work to play to our potential and I don't think we've done that as of late."

Arizona State (11-5, 1-2) only scored 37 points in their last conference game - against USC. They scored that many with over 18 minutes left in the second half against a hapless Husky team that couldn't break the 20-point barrier by halftime. In fact, ASU sharpshooter Rihards Kuksiks had 21 points the same time Washington (10-4, 1-2) had 21 points - with 17:37 left in the game. His punctuation dunk at that time gave the Sun Devils a 36-21 lead at the time, a lead the Huskies would never come close to threatening.

And the Huskies had no answer for Kuksiks and his 3-point barrage when they needed to, going so far as to put 5-foot-11 Venoy Overton on the 6-foot-6 Latvian to slow him down. But by then the damage had already been done. They couldn't use normal defensive stopper Justin Holiday, who missed the trip due to some eligibility questions Romar said would be cleared up by next week.

"Early on they had wide-open looks," Romar said. "We were extending ourselves too much. Kuksiks, we let him get away from us. And in a game like that, a guy scoring 27 points, that's the game. They had a guy they could go to for offense and he did a phenomenal job."

The first half was so poor, it took the Huskies until the 2:22 mark to string together consecutive baskets. The 19 points scored in the first half was a season low by five points, besting the 24 they scored against Montana, a game they eventually won 63-59.

One part of the game that has really slipped of late has been rebounding. Until Friday night, Washington led the Pac-10 in rebounding margin, but were soundly beaten on the boards by both Oregon and Arizona State the last two games, 74-60.

"Give Arizona State a lot of credit," Romar said. "They did a great job of guarding us. We weren't knocking much down from the perimeter and didn't have much going on the inside, so they took advantage of that."

In the past, the Huskies had players like Jon Brockman, would could make things happen inside and break zones down; Friday night they had no answers in the paint, and almost as many questions from the perimeter.

"We didn't have that other option to go to," said Romar. "The last couple of games, we haven't rebounded the ball well. Down the stretch we were small, but so were they."

That being said, Romar is loathe to make any grand pronouncements about the Huskies' future, especially on the road, where they have yet to win a game.

"We were at the line with two free throws to win one at Texas Tech, so we had our chances," Romar said. "I always talk about patterns; we had a chance to win one of those games, but didn't get it done. We'll see what happens.

"I thought we played with more grit tonight, we played harder tonight than we did the other night. Our guys stayed with it and fought back, but they couldn't get stops when we needed to get stops."
Points: Thomas 20, Pondexter 9, Turner 8, Overton 6, Breshers 4, Bryan-Amaning 2, Suggs 2
Rebounds: Pondexter 8, Thomas 5, Overton 4, Turner 4, Breshers 3, Gant 2, TEAM 2, Bryan-Amaning 1
Assists: Overton 3, Gaddy 2, Suggs 2, Turner 1
Steals: Turner 2, Thomas 1, Overton 1
Blocks: Overton 1 Top Stories