Crazy Eight: UW Stretches Losing Streak to Fifth Worst in School Annals
At Pauley Pavilion, the Washington basketball team resembled its former self.
The Huskies played hard. Determined. Together.
This was the group that beat Baylor. Held up a national ranking. Played before sold-out crowds.
Unfortunately, it was all a facade. These guys still don't know who they are anymore.
They suffered a relapse. They can't shake the new identity.
Entering the final six minutes of play, the Huskies reverted to the passiveness and carelessness of the past month that has ruined a once promising season. On Saturday night, they lost 67-57 to UCLA.
It's all so scripted now. The UW (12-14 overall, 2-11 Pac-12) blew a 12-point, second-half lead, its fifth double-digit giveaway, and suffered its eighth consecutive defeat -- now owning the fifth worst streak in school history.
"We fought," Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said on his postgame radio show. "We had some great moments. We just can't get over the hump."
This game, more than any other in the month-long tailspin, seemed so different when it began. People were held accountable for poor play.
Sixty-five seconds into the contest, an impatient Hopkins yanked two starters off the floor. Juniors Hameir Wright and Naz Carter sat down. Wright never got up again.
The last-place Huskies went on to move the ball around with a crispness and a focus not seen in weeks. They leaned on their highly regarded freshmen big men for offensive production.
Adding to his glowing season-long performance, Isaiah Stewart finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. A much more under control Jaden McDaniels came off the bench for 15 points and 2 boards before he fouled out.
The Huskies received 9 early points from outside the arc out of freshman guard RaeQuan Battle.
They led 34-27 at the break.
They came out of intermission and pushed their advantage to 39-27 with 18:25 play. Things looked so promising.
UCLA (15-12, 8-5) made its expected run, but the Huskies seemed more resilient as the game got close.
Hopkins' team led 51-50 with 6:35 left to play -- and came completely apart.
In a sequence of negative possessions that followed in this order, Battle turned the ball over, fellow freshman Marcus Tsohonis committed a turnover and sophomore guard Jamal Bey tossed up an airball from 3-point range. The Huskies were done.
"We didn't handle it well," Hopkins said. "We turned into one-on-one players."
In the end, there was nothing positive to take away from this one. The Huskies are still reeling.
Even Bill Walton, the legendary Bruins center and now an often distracted and silly ESPN-TV broadcaster, took a moment from his nonstop social commentary and weird animal noises to conclude the following.
"The Huskies seem to be collapsing in front of our eyes," he said. "Which is sad."