Huskies Experience Lost Week on Road, Drop Third Game in Five Days

The UW turned to its walk-on 7-4 center Riley Sorn for help, and the big man wasn't bad. But it was hardly enough to reverse things.
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The University of Washington basketball team lost again, for the third time in five days.

Competitive for a half, these talent-shy Huskies fell to Utah 76-62 in their Pac-12 opener that wasn't all that close on a Thursday afternoon in Salt Lake City. 

The one-sided outcome left them at 0-3 — the program's worst start in 18 seasons, since Lorenzo Romar was a first-year coach. 

Anything else?

Oh yeah, these Huskies were so challenged to find someone, anyone, to give them a lift they used their 7-foot-4 sophomore center Riley Sorn, a non-scholarship player from Richland, Washington, for long stretches.

The 88-inch man played in one game last season. He's already appeared in two outings for this group.

Sorn actually wasn't bad, scoring 8 points on 4-of-7 shooting, grabbing 6 rebounds and blocking 2 shots in 16 minutes. He doesn't have much girth to go with all that height, but the tall man displayed a soft touch around the rim.

"Riley has been the most-improved guy in our program," Husky coach Mike Hopkins said. "He went against Isaiah Stewart every day in practice last year. He's got a high IQ. All he cares about his winning."

However, the fact that Hopkins had to turn to his extra-tall guy, someone who's not having his tuition and books funded by the school, says a lot about the shaky state of the program and the talent that's been assembled.

The Huskies rebounded better, with starting center grabbing 13 boards to go with his 12 points. And Quade Green, while not always taking good shots, led the Huskies with 21 points. They lost the overall battle with Utah, 44-43.

But this team, similar to last year's, collectively still can't shoot at all with any marked accuracy. And that's not going to change any time soon. These Huskies hit just 6 of 30 3-pointers agains the Utes after dropping in just 3 of 20 against UC-Riverside on Tuesday.

That's a lot of bricks. 

The UW jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led for the first 12 minutes, the last time at 21-19, and trailed just 37-32 at intermission. This was encouraging. It didn't last.

It all disappeared once play resumed with the Huskies quickly falling behind by 10 and by as many as 23 at 69-46. They're just not very good, though their coach is trying to stay hopeful.

"It just felt like we hit a wall," Hopkins said. "They got out in transition. It hurt us. It was like a steam roll."

Roberts, a new starter as a sophomore center, put on a brave face assessing the lost week in California and Utah.

"I'm not surprised," he said. "Even with an experienced team, this is our first time playing together in our new roles. It's a learning experience."

That being the case, the Huskies are way behind on their homework, need to write a lot of papers and could use some tutors. 

The UW is off until Dec. 9, when it hosts Seattle University in an 8 p.m. game at Alaska Airlines Arena. 

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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