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[caption id=”attachment_12192″ align=”aligncenter” width=”620″](Photo credit: Lindsey Wasson) Robert Upshaw, left, and Jernard Jarreau, right, provided Washington with a lot of length on the front line. Without them, the Huskies have struggled. (Photo credit: Lindsey Wasson)[/caption]

The absence of 7-foot center Robert Upshaw and 6-10 forward Jernard Jarreau is the most popular narrative to explain how Washington went from 11-0 and a No. 13 national ranking to 14-9 and seemingly spiraling out of control in just six weeks.

Truth be told, signs of the Huskies’ demise were present long before Jarreau suffered a knee injury that has forced him to miss the past eight games and Upshaw, a record-setting shot-blocker, was kicked off the team Jan. 26.

Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar first uttered the term “defensive slippage” following a stunning 62-57 setback to Stony Brook on Dec. 28, which snapped Washington’s early winning streak and began a four-game skid.

Players believe there’s still enough time and firepower on the team to salvage the season. However, a growing chorus of Romar detractors aren’t so sure. In today’s story, we take a look at the many factors that led to UW’s current demise.

THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:

— Washington-bound senior Dejounte Murray had 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to lead No. 3 Rainier Beach High to a 79-60 win over No. 4 Eastside Catholic and UW-bound senior Matisse Thybulle in the semifinals of the Metro League tournament. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell, a UW target, scored 22 points for No. 1 Garfield in its 64-49 win over Seattle Prep in the other semis. The Bulldogs (21-0) play the Vikings for the Metro title 8 p.m. Friday at Seattle Pacific University.

Bryce Alford made five 3-pointers while scoring 22 points, Tony Parker added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and UCLA led all the way in winning 75-59 against Oregon State. The Bruins (15-10, 7-5 Pac-12) who have won seven of their last 10, used 3-point shooting to build a 15-8 lead, with Alford hitting two of their first four. They made 10 3s in the game. UCLA dominated the boards, 41-23, including a 28-16 edge on the defensive glass.

Gary Payton II tied his career high with 24 points and Langston Morris-Walker added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Beavers (16-8, 7-5), who dropped into a fifth-place tie with the Bruins. Oregon State is 7-51 against UCLA and has lost the past 11 games to the Bruins.

Joseph Young scored 26 points to lead Oregon to an 80-75 win over USC at Galen Center. Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook each scored 15 points as the Ducks (18-7, 8-4 Pac-12) never trailed and won their fourth straight.

Julian Jacobs scored a career-high 18 points to lead the Trojans (9-15, 1-11), who have lost nine straight, their longest losing streak since they dropped 10 in a row last season. USC pulled to 76-73 on Jacobs’ drive with one minute left before Kahlil Dukes missed a three-point attempt. Freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin left the game in the second half with a shoulder injury and will be re-evaluated Thursday.

No. 11 Utah is gearing up to stop Pac-12 leading scorer Chasson Randle, who averages 20.3 points per game. The Stanford senior guard has scored in double figures in the past 16 games.

— Colorado is searching for self-belief.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Game Time TV
Stanford (16-7, 7-4) at No. 11 Utah 18-4, 8-2) 6 p.m. Pac-12 Networks
California (15-9, 5-6) at Colorado (11-11, 4-6) 6 p.m. Fox Sports 1

— And here’s the conference standings.

Pac-12 Conference Standings

TEAM CONF W-L TOTAL W-L
No. 7 Arizona 8-2 20-3
No. 11 Utah 8-2 18-4
Oregon 8-4 18-7
Stanford 7-4 16-7
Oregon State 7-5 16-8
UCLA 7-5 15-10
California 5-6 15-9
Arizona State 4-6 12-11
Colorado 4-6 11-11
Washington State 4-7 10-13
Washington 3-8 14-9
USC 1-11 9-15