On being outscored 46-26 in a second-half collapse, Hopkins says: 'It’s got to be a 40-minute game. It can’t be a 20-minute game.'
Mike Hopkins has worked hard in his first year with the Huskies to infuse a defensive identity into a team that seemed allergic to defense last season.
But in the second half of the past two games, Washington’s defense has allowed an average of 45 points while being torched from the perimeter.
“The last two halves that we’ve played is not acceptable,” Hopkins said following Thursday’s 70-58 defeat to Utah at Alaska Airlines Arena. “You’re not going to win. The reason why we were winning is we were the No. 1 defensive team in the league. Seventy percent is not going to get it.”
Utah shot 70 percent (14 of 20) from the field in the second half, including 4 of 6 on three-pointers. The Utes were down 32-24 at halftime and overcame a 10-point deficit early in the second because they outscored the Huskies 46-26 after the break.
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“In the second we just didn’t have that pop and that’s why you saw a lot of guys coming off the bench,” Hopkins said. “We needed energy. It’s a defensive game. When you let good shooters get open shots they’re going to knock them down eventually. We didn’t cover it well. There’s got to be more fight, more energy. It’s got to be a 40-minute game. It can’t be a 20-minute game.”
The Huskies (17-9, 7-6 Pac-12) have lost three straight games for the first time this season and their NCAA tournament hopes are in jeopardy.
Hopkins had some sobering advice for junior forward Noah Dickerson, who finished with three points on 1-for-6 shooting before fouling out in 23 minutes.
“I’ve told Noah you got to do a better job of working harder for longer periods of time,” Hopkins said. “He’s getting the offensive foul and not getting the defensive foul. … You got to get one of your best offensive players the ball as many times as you can.”
Hopkins admitted Washington has needed to learn to deal with success and now adversity.
“We’re at 26 games,” he said. “This is all for them a new learning curve too. They won nine games and they’ve extended that. Now you got from the outside world this is what you got to do and social (media) and all of these different things. School. There’s so many different things going on.
“You just got to be able to eliminate the interference. Get rest. Go get treatment. Hopefully get some sleep. I said I can’t babysit you. I don’t know what you’re doing at night. You got to get sleep. You got to ice your knees. You got to do what professionals do. Part of our job is teaching them how to be successful. How to bounce back. They have to go out there and execute that.”
Here’s a look at Hopkins’ postgame interview.