The Huskies have not made the NCAA tournament since 2011, but Romar said he is not feeling any extra heat this season, his 15th as UW coach.

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Talk about recall.

Without hesitation Lorenzo Romar recited the team (Montana State) and nearly nailed the score (a 56-53 loss) of his first game as head coach with the Washington Huskies men’s basketball team.

Back in 2002, he was the proverbial son returning to Montlake and tasked with resurrecting his former college team that had fallen into despair.

Keys to success

Play defense: If Washington’s 109-103 exhibition win over Division II Western Washington proved anything, it’s that the Huskies need to shore up their perimeter defense. The Huskies allowed 12 three-pointers.

Put the ball in Fultz’s hands: There is little doubt freshman Markelle Fultz, a preseason All-American, is destined for greatness. Sure, he’s going to have off nights, but UW is best when the presumptive top-three 2017 NBA draft pick is directing the offense.

Establish and embrace an offensive identity: The Huskies lost their top three scorers from last season, which reshuffled the pecking order in terms of scoring. Sophomores Dominic Green and David Crisp led UW with 25 and 23 points, respectively, in the exhibition opener, but this team has several scoring options and there’s no clear-cut go-to-guy.

Percy Allen

Romar has overseen a program that’s been up (three straight NCAA tournament appearances between 2004-06), down, then up again (three more NCAA tourney berths between 2009-11) and now down once more.

And 14 years after his first game at UW, the Huskies have lapsed once again, but this time Romar has to clean up a mess of his own doing.

“No one wants to win and get back to that thing more than I do,” he said. “But pressure? No more than any other year. And I mean that. Seriously. If we’re fortunate enough to get there this season, next year there’s pressure to get there again.

“And if you did it 10 years in a row, then there’s internal pressure to make it 11. You don’t want the streak broken. Pressure is always there. You want to be the best. You’re a competitor.”

Entering his 15th season with the Huskies, Romar is a different man than he was when he took over a program that hadn’t won more than 11 games in any of the previous three seasons.

“There’s certain things that you just know that if you tolerate, it’s going to bite you,” said Romar, who turns 58 on Sunday when UW starts the season against Yale. “There’s some non-negotiables that we kind of have that we stick to them.

“We didn’t have much as we do now. The list has grown.”

Privately, those around him say the three-year stint between 2012-15 were his most trying. After guiding UW to the Pac-12 regular-season title in 2011-12 and missing the NCAA tournament, the Huskies finished 24-11.

Over the next three seasons, UW gradually declined while winning 18, 17 and 16 games.

Three big games

• Perhaps the most anticipated game of the nonconference season is a Dec. 7 game at Gonzaga and a reunion with Bulldogs guard Nigel Williams-Goss, the former Washington star guard.

• The Huskies open at 4 p.m. Sunday against Yale, which starts a four-game homestand before UW flies to Las Vegas to play in the Global Sports Classic over the Thanksgiving weekend. Washington plays at Texas Christian on Nov. 30 and wraps up the nonconference season at Seattle University on Dec. 22.

• Due to the Pac-12 unbalanced schedule, the Huskies will not travel to Oregon, the defending regular-season and tournament champion. They also miss a game at Oregon State. UW will not host California and Stanford. Pac-12 play starts Jan. 1 at Alaska Airlines Arena against Washington State followed by Oregon on Jan. 4. UW plays seven of its first 11 Pac-12 games at home. The conference tournament begins March 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Percy Allen

The beginning of each season felt as if it might be the last for the Romar, who has endeared himself with UW fans and the Seattle community with his charming and gracious personality.

Still, the losses continue to mount, and Washington’s last NCAA tournament run in 2011 is a distant memory.

It seems as if the Huskies have been caught in some kind of Groundhog Day time loop for the years.

They enter the season with modest to low expectations. Rumors swirl about Romar’s job security. He assembles a top-rated recruiting class and wins just enough to stave off the ax.

“The administration here has been unbelievable,” he said. “They have been realistic. They’ve been honest. You got to win games. You get paid to do that, but they’ve been very supportive. They’ve been fair.”

When she took the job this summer, first-year athletic director Jen Cohen said she spoke with Romar.

“We talked about expectations and he understands how important it is to build the program,” she said. “He’s done that before, and I’m confident he’ll do it again.”

The recent success of the Washington football (ranked No. 4 nationally) and women’s basketball teams (first-ever NCAA Final Four last season) has been a blessing and a curse for Romar.

On the one hand, those teams have diverted attention away from a UW men’s basketball team that is the only squad in a major conference that has missed the NCAA tournament the past five years and retained its coach.

The success of those programs also serves as a reminder of the standard the UW athletic administration has for its coaches.

“We had to start over two years ago,” Romar said, alluding to an exodus of players following the 2014-15 season. “If we weren’t here and someone else took over to have the results we had the last year, then that’s fair to say that’s what you would have had.”

Last season, Washington finished 19-15 and its 9-9 Pac-12 record resulted in a three-way tie for sixth in the conference. It was the most wins for the team since 2011-12.

“Whether you want to call it a resurgence or revitalized or whatever, I just think we’re headed in the right direction,” Romar said.

After 15 years with Washington — enduring the highs and lows — he’s learned one valuable lesson.

“Yu have to be able to recruit,” Romar said. “That’s not a lesson learned. That’s something that we all know. But you got to have players.”

And he’s assembled the best recruiting classes in his career the past three years.

“That tells me we’re doing the right things,” Romar said.