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Originally published January 5, 2010 at 8:01 PM | Page modified January 6, 2010 at 2:08 PM

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Coach Lorenzo Romar blames Huskies stagnant offense, not cockiness, for loss

Coach Lorenzo Romar and Huskies players insist that the Washington men's basketball team isn't too cocky despite earlier comments.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Forget the talk about being too cocky, which became a subject for conversation in the days following Washington's first Pac-10 loss.

Coach Lorenzo Romar said what's more distressing from Saturday's 90-79 loss to Oregon was the Huskies' stagnant offense.

"When things don't go well for us right now — whether we're not making shots or a team goes on a 10-0 run or we begin to turn the ball over — I believe we start to think 'I've got to do it myself,' " Romar said. "And I think we start to watch maybe someone else do it themselves.

"We have to be more mentally tough when those things happen."

The Huskies (10-3, 1-1 Pac-10) returned to practice this week intent on repairing their offense and squelching talk that they're overly confident for a team ranked 24th in The Associated Press poll.

"We're not cocky," sophomore guard Isaiah Thomas said. "You've got to be confident in this league. You've got to or people will walk over (you). And you've got to be somewhat cocky. Not to the sense to where you think you're better than everybody, but you've got to have confidence and feel like nobody is going to come in and win games, especially on your home court.

"I told these dudes yesterday (Monday), we've got to have that feeling and mentality every time we step on the court even for practice and games that we're not losing. We're not losing, and we're going to do whatever we can to win the game."

Washington's mental makeup became an issue when senior captain Quincy Pondexter admitted during a postgame interview he believed UW was at times too cocky this season.

Tuesday, he amended his comments.

"Now that I think about it, I don't think we're cocky like that, like many people say," he said. "We're just young guys that want to come out and play basketball and have fun."

Added Romar: "There's nothing wrong with being cocky if you handle it the right way.

"We need to understand that we need to go out there and get it done, as opposed to just saying and thinking we're going to get it done. We've got to go do it."

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Romar said the UW team led by Will Conroy and Nate Robinson, which won the 2005 Pac-10 tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16, was one of the cockiest teams he'd ever coached.

"Those guys brought it, though," Romar said. "Every minute, they brought it. They were coming at you. And I don't know of any successful basketball player that's not cocky.

"Michael Jordan and Larry Bird talk so much trash. You talk about cocky. They backed it up. What you don't want is someone that's saying what they're going to do and they don't do it. When times get tough, the tail goes between their legs. That's what you don't want."

Note

• UW assistant Jim Shaw returned to practice Tuesday after missing Saturday's game because of illness.

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

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