UW needs to 'grow up', Romar says

After a heartbreaking, last-second loss to UCLA that kept his team winless on the road, Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar offered a simple remedy. "I just think overall that we have to grow up," he said. "Regroup and mature as a group."

Safe to say that didn't happen two nights later at USC, where the Huskies (12-7, 3-5) plummeted into eighth place in the Pac-10 after an 87-61 loss.

"I'm not so sure if we were totally over the UCLA loss," Romar said. "It's something we talked about. Let's turn the page. Let's move on."

If the defending Pac-10 champs don't soon turn enough pages their season may end far sooner than they expected.

The Huskies are 0-5 on the road -- four of those in the Pac-10 -- and look nothing like the team that is so confident and aggressive at home.

Defensively, UW was helpless to slow the bigger, stronger Trojans.

"Guys shot the three, took us off the dribble and their bigs went to work," junior Venoy Overton said. "It's kind of hard when they're doing it inside and out."

Nothing worked on offense, either. The Huskies shot just 37 percent and were 3-for-13 from 3-point distance.

Overton saw a USC team without the burden of postseason prospects play free and easy.

"To play against a team that knows they're playing for nothing and can't go to a tournament, they're just out there having fun," he told the Seattle Times. "That's how we've got to do it."
--The Huskies are 3-44 all-time against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion and just 6-59 against the Bruins in Los Angeles. --Washington's starters combined to score just 30 points at USC on 11-for-38 shooting with nine turnovers.

ON THE SPOT: The Huskies are a team with two stars who are complemented by a variety of largely interchangeable parts. That leaves it on the shoulders of Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas to kick-start a sagging season. Pondexter is coming off his worst game of the season -- a 1-for-10 shooting performance at USC -- and Thomas is converting just 35 percent over the past four games. The supporting cast has to do its part, too, but it's up to Pondexter and Thomas and lead the Huskies out of the woods.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know what's going on on the road." -- Sophomore G Isaiah Thomas after the 62-61 loss at UCLA.
SEASON RECAP: The Huskies were breezing along at 10-1 through the end of the non-conference schedule -- the Pac-10's only nationally ranked team -- and then they staggered a bit in a six-point win over Oregon State. That foreshadowed bigger problems against Oregon, which sliced through their press and pulled out a 90-79 upset victory. The real problem is on the road, where UW is 0-4 in the Pac-10 and has yet to play in the Bay Area, where Cal and Stanford boast combined home records of 20-3.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Quincy Pondexter, F Tyreese Breshers, F Justin Holiday, G Abdul Gaddy, G Isaiah Thomas. Key Subs -- G Venoy Overton, F Darnell Gant, C Matthew Bryan-Amaning, G Scott Suggs.

   Washington 84, Cal 69
   UCLA 62, Washington 61
   USC 87, Washington 61
   vs. Seattle, Tuesday, Jan. 26
   vs. Washington State, Saturday, Jan. 30
   vs. Arizona, Thursday, Feb. 4
   vs. Arizona State, Saturday, Feb. 6
   at Cal, Thursday, Feb. 11

IN FOCUS: The Huskies had dropped seven straight to cross-state rival Washington State until sweeping the season series a year ago. Winning at home this weekend is a must if UW expects to climb back into the hunt for the Pac-10 title. The two primary defensive challenges against WSU are containing the penetration of freshman PG Reggie Moore and staying close to sharp-shooting Klay Thompson, the league's leading scorer.

--Senior F Quincy Pondexter, who scored 23 points in the loss to UCLA, will finish his career having never beaten the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion. He had his worst game of the season two days later at USC, shooting 1-for-10 and scoring just two points in the 26-point loss.
--Sophomore G Isaiah Thomas had just 11 points against UCLA, then scored 14 against USC. He shot just 7-for-21 for the weekend and is 16-for-46 over the past four games.
--Junior reserve G Venoy Overton scored a season-high 18 points in the loss to USC.

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