The Huskies had their chances, but defensive miscues, a slow start in overtime and poor offensive execution late led to Sunday's defeat.
Washington’s 80-75 overtime loss to Utah snapped a three-game winning streak at Alaska Airlines and at least temporarily put a halt to the momentum the Huskies’ surprising fast start in Pac-12 play.
They still remain on top of the conference at 5-2, but they’re now tied with Oregon. UW is 13-6 overall before Thursday’s game at UCLA and Saturday’s contest at USC.
First here’s a link to the highlights courtesy of the Pac-12 Networks.
And here’s three takeaways.
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CAN’T FOUL SO FREELY — This is nothing new with the Huskies. They foul. A lot. That’s a byproduct of the frenetic defense they play. They want to create a chaotic tempo. They want to speed up the pace. But when they foul, the game slows down. The clock stops and UW has no chance to get its transition offense going. Today, the Huskies had 24 fouls. Marquese Chriss fouled out for the 10th time in 19 games. Wow. Andrew Andrews also fouled out. And two other Huskies (Matisse Thybulle and Malik Dime) had four fouls. Without breaking down every defensive situation, I’m guessing several fouls were needless. If Utah had been a little bit better at the line (16 of 24 on free throws), then maybe this game doesn’t go into overtime.
HELP THE HELPER — Coach Lorenzo Romar said the back-side defensive rotation was a little late at times on Jakob Poeltl, which partly explains why the 7-foot center scored a game-high 29 points and collected 10 rebounds.. The Huskies did a nice job with the on-ball pressure and contested passes into the post. A few times, the double team got to Poeltl and forced him into a difficult shot. But he was 8 for 14 from the floor. Making matters worse, he was 13 of 16 at the line. And Poeltl did a nice job as a playmaker. He made a few nice interior passes to Kyle Kuzma who had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Washington needed to do a better job against Poeltl, who will likely be a lottery pick in the 2016 NBA draft. If he scored 29 points on the road, you have to wonder what he’ll get when the Huskies play at Utah on Feb. 10.
SHARE THE BALL — The Huskies can live with Andrews, the Pac-12 scoring leader, scoring just two points in a half if he’s active in other areas. But for the first time since the season opener Andrews finished without an assist. In fact, UW had a season-lowing nine assists on 28 baskets. Conversely, Utah had 17 assists on 29 field goals. Washington committed just 11 turnovers, but nine assists and just 16 free throw attempts says the Huskies needed more players looking to make the extra pass or more players to make a shot. (UW was 38.4 percent from the field). Murray, who had game-high six assists, was the only consistent player maker for the Huskies. He also collected a personal best 13 rebounds.