Washington began its road trip into Southern California undermanned, with Shawn Kemp Jr. suffering from a concussion. His absence was felt in the blowout loss to UCLA. His absence was felt in tonight's loss to USC. Felt even more though was Nigel Williams-Goss' disappearance from the lineup due to a sprained ankle. It was announced about an hour before the game that Williams-Goss wasn't going to go, and there was a collective groan and cancelling of DVRs and opening of schedules with he announcement.
UW is already playing short with three players leaving the program before exhausting eligibility, and then with two more unavailable and another still without his legs under him following knee surgery, things went from bad to untenable. Due to injuries, Michigan State's Tom Izzo declared last season the hardest he had ever coached. I fully believe that Lorenzo Romar has the same belief about this season.
But, to the game. USC started the game on a 10-0 run. Andrew Andrews struggled to find a rhythm and to finish at the basket. The entire Husky offense was tentative, unsure of every move they made. Darin Johnson (getting the start in Williams-Goss's absence) was the only Husky outside of Andrews to show initiative at getting the ball in the lane. He finished 3-11 with six points.
The Huskies were unable to stop a sloppy USC offense that committed eight turnovers, almost all of which were unforced. The number seems low, given how out of sync the Trojan offense was/has been all season. Nikola Jovanavic led USC with 16 points, with Elijah Stewart and Katin Reinhardt each in the double digits.
There is actually a silver lining that can be taken out of this game, and that is Quevyn Winters. He scored 16 points and dished out a team-high three assists. He looked confident shooting from outside, and Romar started to dial up what I like to call "Wilcox sets" because they are designed to get an elite shooter a shot, and it is basically the entire design of the play.
One other highlight that I am going to use to sugar-coat this 15-point short-handed loss to the last-place team in the conference (okay I think I ruined the sugar-coating). Mike Anderson had 15 rebounds, a game-high. Dude stands 6-4 and you know that counts his flattop. He can rebound, and his help defense make him the best small-ball four that Romar could ask for. The problem is finding the other guys on the floor to fit that philosophy.
Guys, the game sucked for anybody not in USC attire. Last game I hoped you had something better to do like sniff Sharpies. This time I hope you learned from your experiences sniffing Sharpies and found something that kills less brain cells than watching this game with the requisite amount of alcohol.
As I say that, I like a lot of the players on the team and think almost all of them have earned their spot and don't really deserve the harsh words I am throwing at them. Not going through the team, but you have got to feel for the guys who are still around.