If it seemed like Huskies guard Andrew Andrews wasn’t being as aggressive as usual in UW’s 64-53 win over Stanford on Saturday night, it’s because he wasn’t.
There was a reason for that. UW coach Lorenzo Romar said Andrews trained the medial-collateral ligament (MCL) in one of his knees during a collision against California on Thursday, then sat out of Friday’s practice.
Andrews still played 36 minutes against Stanford, finishing with eight points despite missing all four of his field-goal attempts. He did have six assists and did not commit any turnovers.
“A lot of people didn’t know he was playing with a strained MCL before the game, and he couldn’t practice yesterday. So he was a little limited,” Romar said. “But he totally used his head, and he came out in the second half and was like a maestro. He was just getting guys easy baskets, fanning the ball all over. He did a tremendous job.”
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Romar said he isn’t concerned that the injury might linger and affect Andrews when the Huskies travel to play at Oregon State on Wednesday night, saying that UW will take Sunday off and that Andrews should be “just as good as new” when he returns to practice on Monday. But knee injuries are obviously always something to keep an eye on.
Here is everything else that Romar said after today’s game, as well as some additional quotes from Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins.
(Opening) “It feels good to be back on the other side tonight. I thought our guys did a tremendous job on the defensive end. Very proud of what we were able to do. That team is very deliberate. That team knows exactly what they want to do. They’re very precise in running their offense. We were able to force 20 turnovers, and that just doesn’t happen very often, I don’t think, with that team. Their length in that zone is pretty impressive, but I thought our guys came out in the second half and did a nice job of adjusting. We got some easy baskets.”
(On Stanford’s zone) “Syracuse plays a very similar zone. The thing with Stanford, you look at their starting lineup and you look at their size, they’re very well-equipped to play a zone like that. There’s no one under 6-3 in their starting lineup and they’ve got three guys 6-9 and above in that starting lineup, and they do a pretty good job of covering. I think you try to simulate it in practice, but that length is hard to simulate, and a lot of times they were deflecting our passes. There were other times guys were wide open but we had to lob it over their length so we didn’t turn it over, and by the time the guy caught it, it wasn’t there. so they did a good job of executing, but again, I thought in the second half our guys attacked it very, very well, and I thought that made a difference, along with our defense.”
(On Stanford reacting to UW’s adjustments by changing its zone) “They had to adjust to what we were doing, so they began to flatten out a lot more as opposed to having the three guys up.”
(On Dejounte Murray attacking Stanford’s zone) “He was tremendous against the zone. This is the best he’s played against zone all year. He did a very good job. He’s very calculated. He was very, very efficient. Him, Andrew and David Crisp all did a good job of penetrating and getting into gaps in the second half. Even Matisse Thybulle had a couple of good drives in there. Andrew (Andrews) I thought was very, very good. A lot of people didn’t know he was playing with a strained MCL before the game, and he couldn’t practice yesterday. So he was a little limited. But he totally used his head, and he came out in the second half and was like a maestro. He was just getting guys easy baskets, fanning the ball all over. He did a tremendous job.”
(Is that a concern?) “If you would have seen him yesterday, it might have been a concern. But he made so much progress. He’ll be off tomorrow and then Monday he’ll come back just as good as new.”
(He did that against Cal?) “Yeah, in the big collision that he had there. But again, with a day off, he’ll come back Monday and I’m sure it’ll be no problem.”
(More on Murray) “He was born with some shiftiness, and there’s not a lot of people that have that like that. If there’s a little bit of a crack, he can get through there. but I thought tonight, he got through those cracks and was really, really under control. There were a couple times he when he didn’t have a shot where he fanned the ball out to someone else. I just thought he was just really under control, for the most part.”
(Is that a sign of maturity that he’s figuring those things out?) “I don’t think there’s any question. It’s something that we’ve addressed, we’ve talked about. He’s the type of player that if there’s something he needs to get better at, he won’t stop until he improves at it, and it’s been on his mind, and tonight, we probably don’t win the game if he doesn’t do that.”
(On getting so little from Andrews, Crisp and Green and still winning) “This has happened before and we didn’t come out with a win. Fortunately, we were able to guard at a level where they shot 32 percent from the field, and that made a difference. Made a huge difference. We talked early about being able to sustain your effort and being able to play through games where the ball doesn’t go in the basket, and I thought tonight was a great example of that. But we’ve had a few other games – the last game, Cal, the ball didn’t go in the basket, and we came up a little short.”
(On not letting the lead slip away this time) “You’d like to think because we’ve been in that situation so many times that maybe we grew up a little bit tonight. They didn’t storm all the way back and take the lead this time like has happened before. We knuckled down and got some stops. And that allowed us to then stretch out a little bit at the end of the game. Like I said, I would like to think that we’ve learned a little bit from those other situations.”
(Does this count as ‘getting over the hump?’) “This qualifies as progress. That’s what I would say. The wins haven’t shown, but I still feel like we are more of an efficient basketball team than we were three or four weeks ago. You would think, ‘well, then, you should have more victories.’ Yeah. I would think that, too. But I do think we are a more efficient team, offensively and defensively right now. That zone, (if) we’d faced that zone a month ago, I think we’d have even more problems.”
(On what changed with UW’s defense) “I thought we played good defense against Cal, and if you’d say what’s different in the last … I just think we’ve improved our defense, and I think guys like David Crisp and Dominic Green are coming off the bench, even though they haven’t been able to put the ball in the basket, they’re coming in, playing defense and working hard. It just seems like you have five guys on the floor working together now. That’s why I say we’re a better basketball team even though we don’t have the wins to show it.”
(On why UW is playing better defense) “A little more of an understanding. The effort was there. sometimes there was activity without achievement. There’s more achievement now.”
(On what needs to improve for UW to have its best shot to win at Oregon State on Wednesday) “I really believe if we can continue to play the way that we’re playing – now, we turned the ball over too much tonight, but do that and begin to start to make shots. I don’t mean in a zone where we’re 12 of 13 from the 3-point line or shooting 60 percent. We just start to make normal shots we’re supposed to make. I think that could put us in a situation where we could finish really strong. But eventually especially on the road, we’re going to have to make shots.”
(On guys like Green and Crisp contributing without scoring) “I think tonight probably showed that they can do that. We made sure that we let those guys know that they contributed in spite of not being able to knock the shots down.”
And some quotes from Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins ...
(What did you feel like changed in the second half that allowed them to get more offense against the zone?) “I thought they had seen it a lot the first half and they made some adjustments at half time, which gave them some better opportunities. Give them credit for making the adjustments that they did. Those young kids, they are freshman so they are still figuring out what they need to do to be successful against it.”
(How did you feel about the way you played offensively in the first half and then in the second shooting 25%?) “I thought offensively in the first half we were solid. I thought the second half we weren’t as poised as we needed to be. They are long, active, very athletic and I don’t think we showed the poise you need to have against a team like that. That is something we have to get better at.”
(Turnovers, are those something that was a big culprit there?) Absolutely. 20 turnovers. I think that is the most we have had all year up. We are typically a team that doesn’t turn the ball over very much. So that was disappointing. We didn’t handle the ball as well as we needed to.”
And some additional notes from UW sports information ...
- UW has forced 10 or more turnovers in all 27 games this season
- Washington moved to 4th in Pac-12 history with 188 blocks in a single-season
- 53 points is the lowest opponent total given up by the Huskies since 12/17/2014 vs. Grambling State
- Had his 19th double-figure scoring effort of the season
- 6th game with 20 or more points
- Led UW in scoring for the 8th time this season
- Had his 10th straight double-figure scoring game, 19th of the season
- 3rd straight game with 3+ blocks, 6th career
- Had his 8th game of the season with 10 or more points
- Moved to 8th all-time with 346 career assists
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple