NEW YORK — Seventeen hours. That’s how long the University of Washington had between games at the 2K Sports Classic. After falling to Indiana late Thursday night, they returned to Madison Square Garden on Friday for the third-place contest against Boston College, a team that had lost four of its first five games.
Still, following the Huskies’ 89-78 loss, coach Lorenzo Romar wished he had much more time to prepare for an efficient Eagles’ offense that had no trouble scoring inside or outside.
Romar again lamented Washington’s poor defensive performance. Boston College shot 55.9 percent from the floor, made 11 3-pointers and scored 40 points in the paint.
How can the Huskies (2-3) improve?
“More film,” Romar said. “We tell our players all the time when we talk about defense how important team defense is, and that four guys can be out on the
floor playing stellar man-to-man, team defense and one guy’s out of position and it looks, literally, like you didn’t play at all.
“We just have to have everybody on the same page defensively.”
C.J. Wilcox scored 19 of his career-high 30 points in the second half and made 6 of 7 3-pointers. Like Romar, though, he was upset with the Huskies’ efforts in stopping Boston College.
The Huskies began the game with four guards as 6-foot-4 Mike Anderson replaced 6-foot-9 Shawn Kemp, Jr. in the starting lineup. Romar knew Boston College’s offense spreads out the defense, so he wanted the quicker Anderson to chase the shooters.
With the small lineup, the Huskies rotated on most defensive possessions, a challenging task for a young team that hasn’t played together too often.
“All it takes is one (mistake),” Wilcox said. “Sometimes guys forget (to switch), a guy will run through and a guy will chase him instead of staying (back) and they get a lot of backdoors and a lot of back cuts. Just not having everybody on the same page definitely hurts.”
Boston College never trailed and made eight consecutive 3-point attempts during a seven-minute stretch in the first half. The Eagles led 46-34 at halftime after guard Olivier Hanlan drove the length of the court for a layup at the buzzer, which followed a 35-second shot clock violation by Washington.
In the second half, the Huskies fell behind 59-41. Washington cut the deficit to eight points with 11 minutes remaining on a Wilcox 3-pointer but never got closer.
Sophomore guard Joe Rahon led the Eagles with 22 points, including 13 in the first 10 minutes. He was held scoreless and didn’t start on Thursday night in a 72-70 loss to 18th-ranked Connecticut, a punishment for arriving two minutes late to the team bus.
Hanlan added 20 points, forward Ryan Anderson had 18, and guard Lonnie Jackson contributed 10.
“Today, against that defense, everyone was moving the ball, giving themselves up,” Rahon said. “It was just finding the open man.”
Despite two losses, the Huskies left New York having impressed both opposing coaches. Indiana’s Tom Crean and Boston College’s Steve Donahue praised UW’s offensive talent, comparing its starting lineup and transition game with the best in the nation.
After averaging 10.8 assists in its first four games, Washington had 19 on Friday. Besides Wilcox, guards Darin Johnson (11 points), Andrew Andrews (10) and Mike Anderson (10) also scored in double figures.
“I thought they made every right decision,” Donahue said. “They’re going to beat a lot of teams. ... (I) just think it’s a team where all these guys are just so dynamite off the dribble that it’s really hard to guard.”
And yet, Romar was much more interested in witnessing defensive progress.
“Right now, we’re just having too many breakdowns,” Romar said. “We try to teach everyone floor position regardless of where you are on the floor. I’m just anxious to get back to practice so that we can see film and see where our errors are being made and improve upon that.”
BOSTON COLLEGE 89, WASHINGTON 78
Player of the game: C.J. Wilcox scored a game-high 30 points, including 19 in the second half. The senior made 6 of 7 3-pointers and did all he could to keep the Huskies close.
It was over when: Trailing 68-59 with 7:50 remaining, UW allowed Boston College to score on consecutive possessions on offensive rebounds and putbacks from Will Magarity and Alex Dragicevich.
Stat of the game: Boston College connected on eight consecutive 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 11 3s.
Quotable: “Right now, we’re just having too many breakdowns (on defense).” — UW coach Lorenzo Romar
What it means: UW lost its seventh consecutive game at Madison Square Garden and squandered a great opportunity to snap the streak. Boston College entered with a 1-4 record this season, but the Eagles had no trouble scoring against the Huskies.
Next up: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Washington vs. Montana, Hec Edmundson Pavilion.Tim Casey, contributing writer