Buffs star forward is questionable after suffering ankle sprain last week and sitting out Thursday's 88-81 double overtime win over Washington State.
Lorenzo Romar doesn’t have direct knowledge, but the Huskies coach expects Colorado star Josh Scott will play Saturday against Washington.
“Absolutely,” Romar said Friday after UW’s practice at Coors Events Center. “We’re counting on him being – counting on him is not the best word – we’re figuring on him being in the starting lineup.”
If so, then the Huskies (15-9, 7-5 Pac-12) will have difficulty avoiding their first three-game losing streak after losses at Utah (90-82) and against then-No. 23 Arizona (77-72). UW is in a three-way tie for fourth in the Pac-12 with Utah and Colorado (18-7, 7-4).
Scott sprained his ankle last Saturday at Oregon State and sat out Thursday as Colorado needed double overtime to capture an 88-81 win over Washington State.
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Scott, a 6-10 senior forward and four-year starter, is one of the best players in Pac-12. He’s the only player ranked in the top 10 in the league in scoring (5th, 16.7 ppg), rebounding (4th, 9.1 rpg), field goal percentage (9th, 55.6%) and blocks (4th, 1.8 bpg).
“When Scott is on the floor he frees all of those other guys up to be better players,” Romar said. “You concentrate so much on him, those guys are the beneficiaries usually of the game plan to stop Josh Scott. And when he’s not on the floor, you can guard those guys a little closer and pay a little more attention to them. So it makes a difference.
“And the other thing is one of the most underrated aspects of his game is how good of a defensive player he is. You know he’s a good rebounder, but he’s a very, very good defensive player and he anchors their defense. With him not on the floor, it makes a big difference.”
Scott has been a terror against Washington. In their last meeting – 95-83 UW win on Jan. 20 – he finished with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting and 12 rebounds. In five games against UW, Scott averages 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Here’s a few quotes from today’s interview with Romar.
(On bouncing back from Colorado) “Not only today, but yesterday. I thought we got off the plane and went straight to practice and lifted and our guys had energy and great focus.”
(On how CU looked Thursday without Scott) “They were fine, but any time you have your full compliment of players it makes the other ones a little better I think. When we play against Colorado, we know those guys are going to have a high motor and are very aggressive. We have to do a good job on those guys as well, not just Josh Scott.”
(On hoping for another extra period in Colorado’s 88-81 double OT win over WSU) “That was an interesting game. Even in that game – it was a long game – but Scott didn’t play. When Scott plays against us, he’s going to be fresh. Trashaun Fletcher played six minutes. He’s going to fresh. (Dominique) Collier fouled out so I think they’re going to be fine.”
(On three-day stay allowing UW to get adjusted to Colorado altitude) “They say it takes about two weeks to get completely adjusted and we can’t do that or we’ll flunk out of school. We’ve been here a few days and I do think it helps a little bit to do that definitely. The schedule doesn’t always work out in your favor for you to be able to do that, but this time we were able to get in a couple of more days so I think it’s good.”
(On being able to correct UW’s defensive miscues during games) “That’s the whole beauty of sports and culture in that if you could snap your fingers and it would all go well, then you go undefeated. But that’s part of the process. This team improved quicker than we thought they would improve. This team has done more than a lot of people thought it would do. However, the team’s youth does show up sometimes. Every now and then like maybe that was the case the other night, it shows up. We’ve played over 20 games. Guys are more closer to being sophomores than they are freshmen right now. But it still happens every now and then.”
(On last game against Colorado – a 95-83 UW win – being the Huskies’ best performance in Pac-12 play) “The first four minutes, they got three layups. Just drive layups. We weren’t ready. We made some substitutions and then we started playing with energy. What happened in that game was we were so locked in defensively. There was communication. We were moving on a string. They were executing defensively. We were able to get up by 22 in that game. By 22 against hat team and that’s not easy to do when all of their guys are playing, but we were so locked in and dialed in. That made a big difference. That wasn’t the case the other day and in the second half against Utah.”
(On 15 blocks last time against Colorado) “We lead the nation in blocked shots, but we’re not averaging 15 blocked shots so that was a special day. But it was also a day, maybe the blocked shots and steals were a byproduct of us being dialed in. Everybody on the same page understanding what we’re supposed to do and communicating. I think it’s more of a lesson of what we’re capable of when we are locked in that way. We’re locked in a lot. We do a good job a lot of times, but when we make mistakes it shows up and burns us big time.”
(On games being magnified late in the season) “We talked to our team about after this game there’s still three weeks left in the regular season. There’s still a month left with this group. I believe we still can get better. I don’t believe this group will stop improving until we play our last game. We’re not an old veteran team that’s reached our ceiling I don’t believe. I still think we have a chance to get a little better.”