“We did a good job of guarding the first half, but we allowed Mark Lyons to get some separation and he hit a couple of big threes for them. That hurt us in the first half after we were ahead,” said Romar of the run that erased the Husky lead in the first half.
Then the wheels came off at the end of the first half and early in the second.
“We didn’t do as well in the second half at defending them, and they began to hit shots and get confident. I told Sean (Miller) after the game that with the way they defend, when they hit their shots, they are awful tough,” said Romar.
“Mentally, we just took a step back in the second half.”
The Huskies, down eight, had the ball to begin the second half. Romar drew up a play but it was aborted when Gaddy caught a pass standing out of bounds, not the first time he’s done that this year.
“Abdul wasn’t standing where he was supposed to. We talked about that. The play wasn’t supposed to go to him standing out of bounds. It was a tough way to start the second half,” lamented Romar. “But as a team that wasn’t a problem tonight. On the road in this environment, to only have nine turnovers, I thought we took care of the ball pretty well considering.”
During a time out, Romar became animated when he sensed his team began losing focus. He had a message for his team as they came toward his bench.
“I told them that we’re down, but do NOT sleepwalk through this game. Play with heart, play with pride. Unless you want to lose by 30 or 40 points, play hard and play with pride.”
Not getting blown out most of the year has been a Husky point of pride. “That streak ended tonight. We took a step backwards,” said Romar of that point.
The tussle that saw N’Diaye get a technical foul was a big blow for Romar’s team. “That put Aziz on the bench with his third foul. That was a pivotal point for that reason alone. We missed him inside,” said Romar. “Give Arizona a lot of credit, they hit a lot of shots.”
Although the team is clearly down (it’s quite obvious by the body language of the players after the game), no one is finger pointing right now. “So far we’ve done a good job at that, and I don’t think that will become an issue with this group,” said Romar.
So what changes could the Huskies put forth now?
“We’ve already made some changes. We’ve already made changes. But that second half was not our pattern. We have done a great job at being a hard second half team that competes. Tonight we took a step back there,” said Romar.
“We don’t play with a lack of pride. That’s not us. But in the second half tonight, I don’t know that we played with the kind of pride we had been. Tonight we didn’t have the firepower to withstand the types of runs they made on us, or to combat it.”
Just then, C.J. Wilcox walked solemnly by as Terrence Ross’ father (who was in attendance) tried to console him with kind words and fatherly advice. It’s a tough time right now, and it will be interesting to see if the Dawgs rebound on Saturday.