Here is everything Huskies men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar said after Washington’s 76-68 loss to No. 5 Arizona on Saturday at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, including his explanation for ending Malik Dime’s suspension, a pointed defense of Markelle Fultz and more.
(Opening) “They scored 23 points off of our turnovers and they had 17 points off second-chance opportunities. Aside from that, couldn’t be more proud of our team. We competed and we tried to play the right way, and that’s all we ask for. Just hate to see us not be rewarded with that type of effort.”
(Did this feel like a game between a 14-1 team and a 2-13 team?) “Well, they were without a couple of their guys, but all I know is, regardless of records, I just know our guys competed. We compete like that, we can hold our own.”
(On whether this team has a run in it) “Well, we’ve been talking about just trying to get better. We can’t at this point reverse the season and do anything about our season, but we can get better and continue to work. It’s a testament to our young guys to come out here and play the way they did. It’s a testament to our supporters to come out here and almost fill the place up, give us a big lift tonight. Given the circumstances, I couldn’t be prouder of our team and our supporters.”
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(On whether the team has found something the last couple games) “I think we grew up a little bit the last couple of games, especially tonight, just our attitudes, we had a little more of a chip on our shoulders than we’ve had all year, and in the Arizona State game is when our guys competed and we came up short again. These are the type of efforts that you can pull one of these out that we’ve been falling short on. We just have to continue to do that on the road.”
(On late breaks going against them) “There were a couple opportunities that were there, a couple calls could have gone either way and they didn’t go our way and we got the short end of the stick on it. But we were right there.”
(On the charge call against Carlos Johnson) “That was a huge play. We’re down three, I thought it was an and-one at first when the whistle blew, but obviously they didn’t see it that way. Obviously that was a big, big play down the stretch.”
(On the decision to play Malik Dime) “For starters, we have never had one hint of a problem with Malik, with his behavior, his character. He’s been a good student. He’s done what he’s supposed to do. I felt what happened was out of character, but at the same time we have to learn things from that. And I just felt he was remorseful and it was behind him, and we decided to let him go on. There has been no history of him doing anything like that. His presence, I thought, made an impact for us. He blocked three shots. He was winded because he hasn’t played in a long time. It’s hard to simulate that type of game conditioning, so he was a little rusty. He’ll get better as we go, but it was great to have him back on the floor with us.”
(On frustration of not getting any breaks at home) “Any time you’re competing at a high level, it’s frustrating if it doesn’t go your way. That’s part of basketball. That’s part of sports, the ebbs and flows of the game. That’s why you have to be mentally tough to be able to play through those situations.”
(On the officiating) “Well, they get paid to do their job. I’m glad I don’t have their job. That’s a difficult one to do. So, you would like for them to go your way, but they didn’t.”
(If this ends up being Markelle Fultz’s last home game at UW, what do you want people to remember about his season?) “We still have, obviously, games left, but let me talk as if he were coming back. I’m not hinting either way. I don’t want to just say ‘he’s gone,’ and then next thing I know, it’s ‘Romar says Markelle is gone.’ I’m not saying that. But I just know that, Markelle has laid it all out on the line this year for this team, for this program, this university. He is a guy that has taken school seriously all year and is still taking school seriously. He is a guy that, as I’ve said many times, has not come in with a sense of entitlement, ‘you owe me.’ He has not come in with the attitude of, ‘I’m going to rent out your program for a little bit.’ He’s been totally invested, he’s been all-in. And it was very, very disappointing for comments that I heard that he was just going to lay down for the rest of the season because he’s worried about the NBA draft. Those were very, very disappointing to me, because there was no basis for that, and if you know Markelle Fultz, and know how much he loves to play, and know how loyal he is – and he came back and he’s played, which shows that those comments were totally out of line. And the ‘pressure’ comments people have made about him because we haven’t won, ‘it’s his fault’ – he’s done everything imaginable to try to help our team. I just thought some of those things were unfair. So all in all, you look back at Markelle’s freshman year, I think we look at a guy that was all-in, came in highly touted but was a servant to his teammates and did the best he could to make us be the best we could be.”
(How much was he gutting it out at the end?) “Totally. Like I said, he laid it all out there. Markelle was really hurt, mentally, when we didn’t come up with the victory. You could see it in his face at the end of the game. He gave it all he could.”
(On Allonzo Trier’s big game) “Well, a bad omen for us was when he hit his first two shots, which were 3-pointers. Any time you get a prolific scorer like that going in the beginning, he’s probably going to have a good game, and he was 4-of-5 for the game from 3. In the absence of (Dusan) Ristic and Kadeem Allen, I thought he picked up a big part of the scoring load tonight. We know Allonzo is a very, very competent scorer, very competent offensive player. He obviously laid it all out there, too.”
(On David Crisp out-jumping bigger players for rebounds) “Well, he’s more athletic than people think. He can dunk just about any way you want. He hasn’t done it in games much, but he’s athletic to go up and do that. He grabbed seven rebounds tonight being the second-smallest player on the floor, other than Cartwright. I thought he played with a lot of heart tonight. He’s an exciting little player. He’s kind of dynamic in how he plays when he gets it going. So he’s definitely made a year of improvement from last year to this year, and I would expect him to do the same the following year.”
(On Arizona throwing some zone defense at them) “They did a good job of … it was timely on their part because we became stagnant for a minute. I thought offensively we were very, very efficient. We were 57 percent in the first half. I thought we were taking really good shots and making good shots and we just kind of stood for a little bit. after a while we adjusted and we started to move and we were able to score, but there were a few minutes there where it caused us to become a little stagnant.”