Same old story for Huskies. They keep it close, but come up short once again because of an inability to rebound and defend in clutch situations.
Same old story for the young Huskies, who really aren’t so young any more. They fight hard against perhaps a superior opponent. They gave up a big early lead. They recovered from a second-half deficit.
They make it close at the end, but ultimately come up short because of an inability to rebound and defend in clutch situations.
This time No. 8 seed Washington lost 83-77 to No. 1 Oregon in Thursday’s Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.
The loss likely ends UW’s hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament and extends the Big Dance drought to five years. The Huskies (18-14) appear headed towards the NIT, which would be their first postseason appearance since 2013.
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Here’s three takeways from the game.
GOT TO HANG YOUR HAT ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN SCORING — The most telling statistic I saw in the past 24 hours came from ESPN. Entering Thursday’s game the Huskies were 14-1 (.933) when they scored at least 85 points. And they were 4-12 (.25) when they scored 84 or fewer. Washington is an explosive group and its exceptionally dangerous when it can force teams to play uptempo. But what happens when good teams force a slower pace? Oregon is a good team. The Ducks’ opponents average 70.9 points. Washington did a fantastic job in the first eight minutes at creating a fast pace. The Huskies led 26-14 in a game, in which both teams got up and down the floor. It was a frenzied environment that got a little crazier when both coaches began yelling at the referees over disputed calls and non-calls. The Huskies converted 9 of its first 12 shots and eventually they cooled off. During one stretch, they missed 9 straight shots and Oregon used an 11-0 run to take a 33-32 lead. The second half looked more like postseason basketball when teams grind out possessions. Washington couldn’t get enough stops or score enough points to overcome its inability to rebound. The Ducks dominated the rebounding 46-33. They had 17 offensive rebounds to UW’s 8. Oregon also scored 42 points in the paint while Washington had 26. Still, the Huskies were down by two points twice in the final five minutes. The Ducks kept scoring inside and when they didn’t score, they got the rebound. Meanwhile, the Huskies missed its final three field goals – dunk, a three-pointer and a layup – in the final 1:05. Washington had five players score in double figures. They had enought points to win. They just didn’t have enough defense. And rebounding.
MARQUESE CHRISS CAN PLAY WITH THE BIG BOYS — It’s not as if Chriss had anything more to prove. He’s one of the best freshmen in the Pac-12 if not the country, no matter if the conference coaches left him all the all-league freshman team. Still, courtside observers wanted to see how he’d perform against Oregon’s defensively tough front line. In their only regular-season meeting, Chriss had six points and three rebounds before fouling out in 20 minutes. On Thursday, Chriss put on a show early. He had two dunks, a block shot and a three-pointer in the first five minutes. Chriss carried UW early scoring 14 of his 19 points in the first half. He was 7 of 14 from the field. He also had five rebounds and three blocks in a career-high 37 minutes.
DAVID CRISP HAD A 59-SECOND SPURT THAT YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE — It’s no secret Crisp has struggled with consistency during his freshman season. The backup point guard finished the regular season shooting 30.4 percent on three-pointers and 32.8 from the field. If his shooting is off, Crisp doesn’t offer much more offensively because he averages 1.7 assists. On Thursday, Crisp put on a dazzling shooting display when he drained three three-pointers in the span of 59 seconds. It really was quite remarkable. He hit shots from the top of the key and in the corner. When it was over, UW led 26-14 with 11:42 remaining in the first half. The Huskies needed very basket considering the their reserves produced just 13 points and the rotation included seven players.