Huskies eventually lose steam against No. 15 Ducks, who were led by Tyler Dorsey’s 28 points before NBA personnel from 20 teams. Markelle Fultz led the Huskies with 22 points.
Lorenzo Romar is all about spotting trends and charting patterns, which he believes is the best indicator – aside from the win-loss column — to determine how a team is playing.
Nearing the midpoint of the regular season, the Huskies coach has discovered an alarming tendency in the Washington men’s basketball team.
“We’re a little fragile when we hit adversity,” Romar said following UW’s 83-61 loss to No. 15 Oregon. “We haven’t been able to fight through adversity yet.”
The Ducks provided plenty of adversity for Washington, which has beaten just two teams (Western Kentucky and Seattle University) with a winning record. The combined records of teams beaten by UW is 39-62.
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Against ranked teams, the Huskies (7-7 and 0-2 in Pac-12) have been outscored by an average of 25 points.
The last time Washington played an opponent the caliber of Oregon, the Huskies were thoroughly outclassed 98-71 early last month at No. 5 Gonzaga.
In front of 8,145 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Wednesday, Washington put a scare into Oregon after cutting its nine-point halftime deficit to three.
But that was as close as the Huskies would get thanks in large part to Oregon’s stingy defense that held UW to a season low in points – 24 points below its average.
Tyler Dorsey drained 8 of 12 three-pointers and finished with a game-high 28 points for Oregon, which improved to 14-2 and 3-0 in Pac-12 play.
Meanwhile, Washington star freshman Markelle Fultz put on a dazzling performance for the fans and NBA personnel from 20 teams. He finished with 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting and four assists.
David Crisp scored 14 points for the Huskies.
Washington, which was a 15-point underdog, had its chances.
The Huskies held Ducks star Dillon Brooks to eight points on 4-for-10 shooting while Jordan Bell (10 points and 11 rebounds) was the only other Oregon player with double-digit points.
With Bell missing most of the first half because of an apparent leg injury and Brooks and forward Chris Boucher on the bench due to foul trouble, the Ducks were seemingly vulnerable to an upset.
Oregon’s backup forward Kavell Bigby-Williams was also saddled with two fouls, which severely depleted its front line.
However, the Huskies trailed 42-33 at halftime.
The second half began with both teams making mini-runs.
Washington scored the first six points, which included Matisse Thybulle soaring high over traffic at the rim and tipping in a pass from Crisp. On UW’s next trip, Noah Dickerson flushed a dunk that cut the deficit to 42-39 and prompted an Oregon timeout.
The Ducks responded with seven unanswered points to regain control and surge ahead 49-39, causing UW to stop the action with 16:39 remaining.
The Huskies never got closer than eight points the rest of the way and fell behind by 25 late in the game.
“The three baskets we gave up to start the second half just weren’t, you know, we weren’t bouncing around,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We didn’t have much energy and I’m not sure why, but we didn’t.
“And then out of the time out we scored the next five and got it going again. There were a couple of times during the game where they got a timely basket and kept that margin at 10, but then when we got things rolling, we pulled away.”
The slow start in conference play obviously puts pressure on the Huskies and Romar heading into Saturday’s game against Oregon State, which concludes UW’s three-game homestand.
“When you lose, I’m actually more motivated to come out to play the next game,” Fultz said.