The Huskies allowed 103 points in last week's exhibition opener against Division II Western Washington.
After allowing 103 points in last week’s exhibition win over lower-level Western Washington, the Huskies are intent on improving their defense in Sunday’s season opener against Yale.
“I think we’ve identified some of the those issues and addressed them with our team,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We’ve worked a few days and have gotten better already.”
Aside from a porous perimeter offense that allowed the Vikings 12 three-pointers, the Washington men’s basketball team had tremendous difficulties playing defense without fouling.
The Huskies committed 27 fouls, which sent Western Washington to the line 40 times. The Vikings sank 31 free throws.
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Romar attributed part of the shoddy defensive performance on an unusual lineup in which he rewarded the top rebounders at their position in practice.
“It was an exhibition game and we use exhibitions to experiment, to try things and to look for different combinations,” Romar said. “You don’t want to miss out on that opportunity. They were difficult to guard for us because of how they spread the floor. If it were a real game we probably would have played it differently.
“We still would have made mistakes in some areas that we just haven’t gotten to where we need to be yet, but there are other areas in that game were we have been a lot better.”
Sunday’s game marks the official debut of freshman Markelle Fultz, UW’s highly touted freshman star who is a preseason player of the year candidate.
In the 109-103 exhibition win, Fultz finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three turnovers in 23 minutes. He’s been limited in practice in fall camp due to fatigue.
“His minutes won’t be regulated or restricted,” Romar said. “He’ll be fine. If he needs to go 40 he’ll go 40.”
Yale won the Ivy League championship last season and advanced to the NCAA tournament where the 11th-seeded Bulldogs upset No. 5 Baylor before falling to Duke in round-of-32 game.
Yale lost three of its top four scorers to graduation and its best player Makai Mason will likely miss the rest of the season due to a broken foot suffered during a closed scrimmage against Boston University on Nov. 5.
“They are a deliberate team,” Romar said. “They are not going to take bad shots. They’re going to take care of the basketball. We have to impose our will on them. If we allow them to dictate every possession, it could be a tough game.
“They obviously will be playing with a lot of confidence. No doubt about that. They played Duke in the NCAA tournament. They played Baylor in the NCAA tournament. They’re not going to go on the road with their tail between their legs, that’s for sure.”