Arizona State pulls away from UW men
Gerry Blakes scores 23 as Sun Devils hand Huskies 78-68 loss, their seventh in a row.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Washington State, 5:30 p.m., ESPNU
By the numbers
Huskies’ record to start the season
Huskies’ record after 11-0 start
Huskies’ current losing streak, longest in the Lorenzo Romar era
After Arizona State raced past the Huskies in the final minutes and handed them a crushing 78-68 defeat for their seventh straight loss, Shawn Kemp Jr. made a promise to teammates.
“The season is not over,” the senior forward said.
He’s right, of course. The Washington men’s basketball team still has five games remaining in the regular season.
But Kemp was addressing a larger issue. The Huskies knew the importance of Sunday’s game and the dire implications of a loss to Arizona State, which had an eight-game losing streak against UW.
The Sun Devils were 1-9 in their previous road games and playing in front of an announced 6,745 at Alaska Airlines Arena. They were short-handed and thin on the front line, much like the Huskies and appeared ready to get knocked out when Washington led by five with 7:42 left.
If the Huskies were ever going to get off the schneid, this was their moment.
But then again, it has been so long – 24 days exactly – since UW won that coach Lorenzo Romar wondered if his team has forgotten what it takes to capture a victory.
“Now that we’re on this downturn and haven’t been able to win a game recently, doubt starts to creep in,” he said. “I’ve been in situations where teams keep winning and you just feel like you can’t lose.
“But then other situations it’s almost like an alarm goes off. Here it is. Here’s the crossroads in the game. Here is the time when you’re going to win it or lose it. The alarm goes off and sometimes teams don’t answer that alarm. ... With this team, we’re not waking up to that alarm.
To borrow Romar’s metaphor, the alarm went off with 4:49 remaining and the score tied at 64.
The Huskies were outscored 14-4 the rest of the way. They missed five of their final six field goals while the Sun Devils connected on four of their final five shots.
Washington had no answer for junior guard Gerry Blakes, who scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, and sophomore forward Savon Goodman, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
The Huskies couldn’t keep the Sun Devils off the glass. Arizonaq State outrebounded UW 44-26 and had 18 offensive boards. Washington also couldn’t keep the Sun Devils out of the paint, where they scored 42 points.
“Some of the things that are happening are unacceptable,” Romar said.
The deciding run began when Blakes darted into the lane before passing to Shaquielle McKissic who stood alone in the corner in front of the ASU bench. The former Kentridge High standout who played at Edmonds Community College, unlocked the 64-64 tie with a three-pointer. He finished with 16 points for ASU (13-12, 5-7 Pac-12)
At the other end, Donaven Dorsey badly missed a three-pointer and Romar exploded on the sideline, believing the freshman sharpshooter was fouled. The UW coach ripped off his beige suit jacket, barked at officials and surprisingly didn’t pick up a technical foul.
Meanwhile, the Sun Devils continued to surge past the slumping Huskies.
Goodman delivered a dunk. McKissic and Holder followed with layups and the Huskies trailed 74-66 with 1:30 left.
After Dorsey missed another three-pointer, ASU sank three free throws to stretch its lead to 11 (77-66) with 38 seconds remaining.
“Same problem we’ve been having the last six games,” said Nigel Williams-Goss who had 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in 40 minutes. “Too many defensive errors. Too many defensive miscommunication. Just like every other team, they’ve made us pay every time we’ve made a mistake. Too many defensive lapses.”
Andrew Andrews scored 19 points and Kemp finished with seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Washington, which fell to 14-11 and 3-10 in the Pac-12.
Following the loss, players remained in the locker room several minutes longer than normal.
“We just said we’re not going to quit on each other,” Williams-Goss said. “(Kemp) said he’s not going to quit until the last game of the season. All of us said the same thing. This is adversity, no question about it, but at the end of the day it’s only going to make all of us stronger.
“This season, as bad as it hurts, it’s not breaking us as people or as players.
Still, Romar questioned whether the longest losing streak of his career has broken UW’s resolve.
“We don’t play until Sunday (and) we got to come back and decide if we’re going to finish this with the right approach,” Romar said. “That’s something we have challenged our team with.”
• UW forward Jernard Jarreau, who has missed the past 10 games due to a right knee injury, is expected to return for Sunday’s game at Washington State.