Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar reiterated on Friday that he asked the Pac-12 office to review the final play of UW’s 82-81 loss at Oregon State because he wanted to stick up for his team, but otherwise said he’d prefer to leave the issue in the past.
The Pac-12 reprimanded Romar on Friday for comments he made about the officiating in that game, particularly his statement that Stephen Thompson Jr. traveled prior to shooting and making the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
Romar also believed the clock did not start on time when Thompson caught the inbounds pass. The Pac-12 said in a statement on Thursday that the clock operator and game officials handled the situation appropriately, and Romar’s disagreement with that belief also helped prompt the reprimand.
“As a parent, my own kids, certain things happen, and when it’s toward you and you alone, you deal with it,” Romar said Friday in Seattle. “When it happens to your kids, man, you flare up a little bit. That’s all. I said what I had to say, and the league gave its response. I respect their response, and we’re moving on now. That was done.”
Asked if the Pac-12 gave him any further explanation as to why it believed the clock situation was handled properly, Romar replied: “It doesn’t matter at this point. Again, everything I wanted to say, I said, and they responded. As far as I’m concerned, close the door.”
Romar covered a few other topics on Friday, including UW’s Sunday game at Oregon, and you can read all of his comments below.
(On how the team responded to the loss) “We kind of let them be to themselves a little bit. We’ll see them shortly after this, let you know then. But haven’t talked to a lot of them since the other day.”
(On the team having to be resilient again) “We’ll bounce back.”
(What makes you believe that?) “I think it’s a special group. I think this group has met almost every challenge we’ve faced this year. We obviously aren’t undefeated. We wish we had more wins to speak of. Just day in and day out, working with this group on and off the court, I have a lot of respect and admiration for this group and feel like we’ll bounce back.”
(On rallying the team after a loss like that) “Our mission is not going to change because of it. And because we’ve been practicing this and talking about this season and what we try to get accomplished every day, I don’t think there needs to be special, special motivation. We’ll go out and sense where our guys are, but I have a feeling this group is going to bounce back.”
(What was your hope when you asked the Pac-12 to review the end of the OSU game?) “I would just say it’s probably more … again, as a parent, my own kids, certain things happen, and when it’s toward you and you alone, you deal with it. When it happens to your kids, man, you flare up a little bit. That’s all. I said what I had to say, and the league gave its response. I respect their response, and we’re moving on now. That was done.”
(Do you wish you’d handled it differently, knowing what you know now?) “I would say, like I said earlier, I want to fight for our guys. And I said what I had to say. No looking back now. I’ll say that five more times if you all want to keep bringing it up, just to let you know. I am moving on.”
(On being reprimanded by the Pac-12) “It’s been made clear what can happen if you deal with the situation like this a certain way. It was made clear. So I understand.”
(On whether his words mean more because he’s been in the league for so long) “Maybe that’s the case. I’m not sure. Again, the comments were made, there was a response, and whatever anyone takes from that at this point, that’s up to them. But I really don’t have a lot more to say about it.”
(On whether the Pac-12 gave him any further explanation on the clock situation on the final play) “It doesn’t matter at this point. Again, everything I wanted to say, I said, and they responded. As far as I’m concerned, close the door.”
(On why Oregon is so tough at home) “Oregon’s tough period. But I think they play with a lot of energy. Oregon plays together. They’re really an unselfish team. Most teams in our league have played better at home. There are several teams that have hardly lost or not lost at all. Oregon, being very good already, plays with a lot of energy there.”
(On whether the final inbounds play at OSU was executed properly) “One thing we did not want them to do was throw long. We did not want them to do that. We also wanted them to catch in front of us, catching the ball going toward the baseline. We did not want them to catch the ball with a running start going the other way. You can put that on me as head coach. we didn’t execute that. So I didn’t do a good enough job of helping our guys understand what we wanted on that, because he caught the ball on the run.”
(Did you not guard the inbounder because you wanted to guard deep?) “That was one of the reasons, yeah. We did not – with our group … I would say with a veteran group, we probably would have had somebody (guarding the inbounder). But with our group, there are certain things we want to make sure are simple, and we did not want them to throw over the top. Earlier there was a game (where) we talked in the huddle about, we do not want them to throw over the top, and we explained it. And we went out there, they threw over the top. It didn’t cost us the game, but they threw over the top. That was in the back of my mind, because if they threw over the top, then it’d have been worse – we would have gone into overtime, if they’d thrown over the top, at least. They wouldn’t have hit a 3.”
(On rebounding being an issue again) “We talked about all different type of situations. They got an offensive rebound on three possessions, three of their final four possessions in that game. If they don’t get one of those, we win the game. It had nothing to do with switching and being on a smaller guy or a bigger guy – none of that. We did not come up with the basketball. And those were daggers. They got the ball back.”
(On whether the only way to make the NCAA tournament now is to win the Pac-12 tournament) “I wouldn’t say that. I’d say there’s still a small hope. We have to go and play well against Oregon and see where that takes us.”
(On whether beating Oregon would change things) “It would put us in better shape than we are in today, that’s for sure. So that would be a start. Oregon would be a start.”
(On how difficult the OSU loss was for him) “(Puts head in hand) All right. I just went back to the other night. Now I’m OK again (laughs). It was tough. It was really, really tough. Probably up there in the top three tough losses during conference. There have been some tournament losses, but in terms of conference play, that was right up there in the top three. You talk about what was at stake, it’s right up there.”
(Do you have a personal process for dealing with difficult losses?) “I just watch the game over and over and over. For me it’s not depressing to watch it over. Sometimes. But in the process of watching the game over and over and over, I keep saying ways where maybe we could be better the next time. You get lost in the game again. It’s almost like a movie, you come out of it, now reality is still here. Also perspective. For me, perspective is always very important. As a leader, you can’t come back to your group sulking and depressed. So I see the big picture.”
(Do you have to be more positive with the team after a loss like that?) “I think both. I think you have to point out what prevented you from maybe winning the game. You have to point those out in a teaching way, in a constructive way. But the main thing I keep telling our team and we keep preaching to our team is, the wins don’t show how much we’ve improved. The wins don’t show. Like I said before, a few days ago, we’ve been holding teams except Utah, the last six, seven games, under 40 percent. This last game, first half, no, we didn’t. Oregon State did a great job. But we held them to 29 percent in the second half. I think sometimes with this group the mistakes we make are so glaring, that it seems like that’s just how we operate. But it hasn’t been how we’ve been operating. We are just a much better team. With the exception of Oregon now, we’ve gone through the entire league, and we’ve had a chance to win every game except for the one at Arizona. That got away. The rest of the games, either we won the game or it came down to the last minute or two. We have to help our guys understand that, that we’re just so close, but yet so far. We keep saying that. But so close. Even from two or three weeks ago, our decision-making has gotten better. We’re doing more things right. Our team has to understand that. This is not a team that – I know people say, well, you’re taking the same turn as last year. It’s not even close. In terms of wins and losses, we’ve not won games, we’ve lost more down the stretch, but in terms of what we’re putting out on the floor, guys playing together, guys playing hard, playing with purpose, having a chance to win each game, it’s not even close, it’s nothing like last year, and that’s what’s so disappointing, in that it could so easily go the other way. So easily.”
(On wanting to make the tournament for Andrew Andrews) “The last three games, Andrew’s effort has been phenomenal. But in the last game, that jumper started falling again. He started making shots. He’s doing everything he can. I’d love to – for all of us – but you’d love to see your senior captain who has been loyal to us go out the right way and have a chance to play in the tournament. Love to see it. But it’s not over.”
(On taking solace in the fact that they can still get to the tournament) “Oh yeah. I think so. When you talk about a team that everybody picked near the bottom of the conference, has a chance to finish in the top half of the conference. I think that’s progress for our team. But we’re not settling for that at all. We want to get to the NCAA tournament. I’m still proud of our guys up to this point. We’ve battled. There haven’t been many times on the floor all year that we’ve gone out there and not competed. Our guys have really competed.”
(On what makes Oregon so good) “They keep a lot of teams off balance by the way they change defenses, and when they’re out there playing, their starting five, everyone can make a play, even Boucher, their center, can go outside and shoot 3s. He can put the ball on the floor and go to the rim and make baskets. Those guys are interchangeable, they’re all over the place, so it makes them a little difficult to guard. They’re an older team that are very tough-minded. Very tough-minded.”
(On Oregon using different defenses) “That’s what they do. That’s part of their package. And they do it very well. Sometimes you can do that and we’ve played against teams that change defense, and they, to me, sometimes are jack of all trades, master of none. They play a lot of defenses, they try to keep you off balance, but then when you have a team that’s able to counter it, sometimes a veteran team, then you’re able to slice them up. Oregon’s not like that. Oregon plays all of their defenses really well.”
(On Oregon replacing Joseph Young) “Tyler Dorsey is a freshman but he’s averaging double-digits. Elgin Cook has really improved on the offensive end. He can occasionally step out and hit the 3, he’s nails on the midrange jumper and he can put the ball on the floor and really get to the basket and finish because he’s so strong and athletic. And then Dillon Brooks reminds me a little bit of how Andre Iguodala played for Arizona before he left. He just had his hand in a little bit of everything, and that guy plays tough. Dillon Brooks plays a tough brand of basketball. He’s out there playing to win basketball games. That’s his only agenda based on how he goes out there and competes. Dwayne Benjamin, he can make baskets. They just have a lot of players that in Joseph Young’s absence have been able to step up and extend their games a little bit and do more.”
(Who is Oregon’s best player?) “I always look at a team (like) if this guy were in foul trouble, and he wasn’t playing, how much would that help? As you’re game-planning, sometimes you try to go at a guy, get him out of the game. I think Dillon Brooks does so much for them, so much for them, so much versatility. Again, not just his production, but the way he handles himself on the floor. He’s not going to allow anyone else to go out there and play mediocre, and he’s not going to allow any mediocre efforts. It’s almost as if he says, look at me first. I’m going to play my tail off and you need to follow suit. He provides a lot for them.”