The return of junior forward Jernard Jarreau, who missed the past 10 games with a right knee injury, should help Washington (14-11, 3-10 Pac-12) in Sunday’s 5:30 p.m. matchup with cross-state rival Washington State (11-14, 5-8) at Beasley Coliseum.

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PULLMAN – The year was 1996 and not much was expected out of the Pepperdine men’s basketball team.

Lorenzo Romar was 38 and it was his first full-time head coaching job. He inherited a team that compiled an 18-37 combined record the previous two seasons, and sure enough, the Waves stumbled at the start.

A few skeptics in Malibu, Calif., wondered if the former UCLA assistant was the right man for the job after he began his coaching career with a 1-8 record that included a seven-game losing streak.

Sunday

UW men @ WSU, 5:30 p.m., ESPNU

“I remember the first meeting we had with the team and they looked like they had been in a prisoner-of-war camp or something,” Romar said. “They just looked like they were so defeated.

“We stayed positive. That team was scrappy. … Just didn’t have the mentality to quite get it done.”

The Waves finished the 1996-97 season 6-21, which was the program’s fewest wins in 29 years.

The next two seasons, Pepperdine won 17 and 19 games respectively, which included a pair of second-place finishes in the West Coast Conference, before Romar moved on to Saint Louis.

“We were building a culture,” he said. “You didn’t want to lose, but we didn’t get discouraged to the point where you’re ready to throw in the towel because you knew you were building a foundation.”

Fast forward nearly two decades.

After guiding Washington to unprecedented heights during his 13-year tenure, Romar has come full circle in a sense.

Once again, he’s saddled with a seven-game losing streak, which ties for the longest during his 19-year coaching career. It’s also the most consecutive losses for the Huskies since 2000-01, when they dropped eight straight under Romar’s predecessor, Bob Bender.

Other than the long losing streak, there are other parallels between Romar’s first and current teams. Both squads struggled to score points with an undersized front line that hampered the defense.

“It’s different in that no one had seen me as a head coach be successful before because that was my first year,” Romar said. “This is a little different because we’ve had success. It’s not like we’ve been here 13 years and have had mediocre records every year or losing records. We’ve had some good years, some special years.”

The return of junior forward Jernard Jarreau, who missed the past 10 games with a right knee injury, should help Washington (14-11, 3-10 Pac-12) in Sunday’s 5:30 p.m. matchup with cross-state rival Washington State (11-14, 5-8) at Beasley Coliseum.

The Cougars are rebuilding under first-year coach Ernie Kent, but they’ve managed a few impressive wins, including an 80-77 victory over UW on Jan. 10 at Alaska Airlines Arena.

The Huskie have acknowledged any chance of reaching the NCAA tournament will require them winning the Pac-12 tournament and capturing the automatic berth.

“You just want to get better,” co-captain Nigel Williams-Goss said. “You want to build every day and every game and try to go in the Pac-12 (tournament) with as much momentum and motivation as possible.”

Not-so magnificent 7
Washington has lost its last seven games, which is tied for the third-longest losing streak in school history. Here’s a look at UW’s longest losing streaks.
Season No. of losses
1993-94 9
1953-54 9
1940-41 9
2000-01 8
2014-15 7
1990-91 7
1945-46 7