Huskies Off to Disturbing Hoop Start, Lose Big to UC-Riverside

Mike Hopkins' UW team has plenty of weaknesses, beginning with a lackluster approach to rebounding.
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This University of Washington basketball team isn't waiting on any more transfer waivers.

Not counting on any freshmen to acclimate to the college game because it doesn't have any.

Won't get anyone back from an injury to provide a boost. Low self-esteem is the only thing close to an unhealthy situation.

The Huskies are what they are — and that's a roster exceedingly low on talent.

A bad loss to an average team, to UC-Riverside 57-42 on Tuesday, followed a disastrous showing against a great Baylor team, an 86-52 defeat on Sunday, with all of this hoop carnage taking place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Both were hastily arranged games in this disruptive pandemic world that turned into easily decided outcomes. 

"We wanted to try and play and take the bad taste out of our mouths against Baylor," a somber UW coach Mike Hopkins said, "and it backfired a little." 

Right now, things are really sour.

A month ago, Hopkins was asked if he had enough players to work with. 

This inquiry came up after he lost four big men to the NBA, graduation and transfer, and had six players leave overall, with no high school recruits coming in. 

Hopkins assured everyone he had more than enough bodies. 

He was too hopeful.

A two-game sample shows the Huskies seriously lacking in rebounders, outside shooters and manpower in general.

They got out-hustled by a wide margin again, losing the rebound battle to Riverside 49-33 after totally giving it away to Baylor 50-19.

"We've got to look at all lineups," Hopkins said. "We've gone with small ball, but it's really hurt us."

The bad stat this time was UW shooting. 

The Huskies connected on a dismal 29.6 percent of its field goals (16 of 54) and an even drearier 15 percent from 3-point range (3 of 20). 

Senior forward Hameir Wright, asked to play a primary role for this team but seemingly a support piece at best, hit just 2 of 12, 1 for 10 from behind the arc.

New addition Erik Stevenson, the Wichita State transfer, shot poorly last season for his old team and still hasn't found his touch with his new one. He sank just 3 of 10 shots, going 0 for 2 from the 3-point line.

"We're just trying to figure out what we can and can't do," said point guard Quade Green, who led the UW with 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting. None of his teammates scored in double figures. 

The Huskies were never really in this one. They closed to 44-38 with under nine minutes to play but proceeded to miss 12 shots in a row and it was over.

Things don't get any easier for Hopkins' patchwork crew. It opens league play at Utah on Thursday, with a 3 p.m. PT tipoff in Salt Lake City. Even with good teams, the Huskies usually have trouble at Huntsman Center. 

"Oh yeah, of course we're frustrated," Green said. "Nobody wanted to lose. Nobody in the country wants to lose, but it happens."

It might happen a lot with this team.

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