SEATTLE – There is no chart to prove it, so the eye will have to suffice.
Sideline gesticulating from Washington men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar is on the uptick this season. Fervent applause, verbal prodding, clenched fists. Even the occasional drop into a defensive stance despite being swathed in a high-end suit.
Romar is returning to his 2007 and 2008 form. Those teams needed constant jolts from the coach. This year’s laid-back group is no different.
“Those teams did have Jon Brockman,” Romar said. “Even with Jon, we found ourselves constantly pushing, prodding trying to get us to be high-energy. It was difficult with those two teams. This team, has been, so far, more like that.”
Washington heads into Thursday’s matchup with Seattle University at KeyArena at a harrowing 4-4. The Huskies most consistent game was its opener. Since, Washington has fluctuated from half-to-half or even within halves.
Washington allowed 16 points in the first 4:38 of the second half against Nevada. That put them on pace to give up 71 points over that 20 minutes if the defense remained the same. Instead, over the next 7:18, UW allowed two points.
Against Cal-State Fullerton, Washington scored 29 points in the first half and 45 in the second. It allowed 43 points in the first, then 29 in the second.
These massive fluctuations coupled with the solid play during the Connecticut trip, when the Huskies beat Seton Hall in overtime and played a solid game against ranked Ohio State, have Romar landing on the first trend of the season.
“When we feel this is a big stage or we’re in trouble, we tend to dig in,” Romar said. “That’s kind of been our pattern and good teams don’t have that pattern. We (need to) play one way, regardless of who we’re playing and regardless of the circumstances at the time.”
Romar noted one difference between this team and the 2007 and 2008 teams is health. Spencer Hawes was hurt in 2007, but neither of those teams went through what this team has dealt with.
And, the injury problems continue. Backup point guard Andrew Andrews is “doubtful,” Romar said. Shawn Kemp Jr. is working to get his touch back after missing five weeks with a knee injury. Scott Suggs said his plantar fasciitis injury is improving, but not resolved.
Their absence and inconsistencies have produced early dubious footnotes. Washington has three home losses so far, which is more than the season total in each of the past four years. The last time the team had more than three home losses was 2008, when the Huskies went 12-7 at home and Romar pushed the team similar to the way he has this one.
“We had other teams where it took real adversity to make it click,” Romar said. “I really feel like something’s going to happen to make it click with this group.”
He hopes that comes Thursday.Todd Dybas firstname.lastname@example.org