Washington men fall to Oregon State, 68-56
It was the second straight loss for the Huskies (15-6, 7-3 Pac-10), who dropped consecutive games for the second time this season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Oregon, 1 p.m., FSN
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CORVALLIS, Ore. — There was plenty of finger-pointing following Washington's second straight loss.
The 20th-ranked Huskies, however, weren't looking to blame anyone after Thursday's 68-56 stunning defeat to Oregon State.
As they streamed one by one out of the locker room beneath Gill Coliseum, they held themselves accountable for a loss that knocked them out of first place in the Pac-10.
Washington (15-6 overall) fell to 7-3 in the conference, a game behind Arizona.
"The defensive effort has not been where it needs to be," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Look right here at Coach Romar for that. That's my fault."
Washington, coming off Sunday's 87-80 loss to Washington State, tied its season low for points and shot a season-worst 32.3 percent from the field.
The Huskies were abysmal beyond the arc for the second straight game, missing 22 of 29 three-point attempts. In the past two games, UW has missed on 42 of 60 treys.
But Romar said the Huskies were undone because they allowed Oregon State to seemingly score at will.
"We weren't disciplined on defense tonight," he said. "Far too many gambles, took far too many chances. We can sit around and talk about what player didn't get enough shots and what player didn't step up, but if we're not disciplined on defense that is on me.
"I have to get our guys to play better defense. It's that simple."
The defensive problem goes beyond Thursday's game, in which the Beavers shot 43.8 percent. In their previous two games, the Huskies allowed Washington State to shoot 48.4 percent and Arizona State 50 percent.
"This is the third straight game where we haven't guarded the way we're capable of," Romar said. "And if that's going on, I have to look myself in the mirror and make sure we change things around."
The defensive gaffes were compounded by an ineffective offense that recently has relied heavily on the three-point shot, and sloppy ball-handling from point guard Isaiah Thomas.
The junior co-captain said it's the players as well as Romar who are responsible for the recent slide.
"I'm the point guard of this team and I've got to take the blame for it," Thomas said. "I got to get my guys ready and back to playing at a high level on the defensive end."
For the second straight game, Thomas committed seven turnovers, which offset his nine points and six assists. He also missed 9 of 11 shots, including 5 of 6 three-pointers.
While Thomas struggled from the perimeter, standout forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning had his hands full inside battling against a tight 2-3 zone that collapsed around him. He needed 12 shots to score 12 points and finished with 10 rebounds.
If not for Scott Suggs, the outcome would have been a bigger rout. The junior sharpshooter finished with a career-best 18 points, including five three-pointers.
It wasn't nearly enough to counter a balanced scoring attack from the Beavers led by Jared Cunningham, who finished with a game-high 19 points. Calvin Haynes added 11 points.
Washington had won eight straight games against Oregon State and hadn't lost to the Beavers since a 73-65 defeat on Feb. 22, 2007.
Oregon State had lost six of its previous seven games, so Beavers coach Craig Robinson changed the lineup. He brought in three new starters — 6-foot-7 forward Joe Burton, 6-11 center Angus Brandt and guard Ahmad Starks — to slow down Bryan-Amaning.
Neither team led by more than two points in the second half before Oregon State pulled ahead 51-47 with a little over eight minutes remaining. Suggs drew UW within one with a three-pointer on the next possession, but the Huskies managed just six points the rest of the game.
The Huskies placed two players (Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton) on the Pac-10 all-defensive team last season, but the defense hasn't shown up in the past three games.
"Usually when you think of Husky basketball, you think of full-court pressure, getting after it, getting steals," Thomas said. "But we're taking steps back on the defensive end. We just have to fix it ASAP."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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