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Originally published March 5, 2014 at 6:20 PM | Page modified March 6, 2014 at 2:35 PM

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Huskies' guard Andrew Andrews has turned around his game

Washington sophomore guard Andrew Andrews is averaging 16.8 points and 8 rebounds in the past four games, after hitting a rough three-game patch before that.


Seattle Times staff reporter

Thursday

UCLA @ UW men, 6 p.m., ESPN2

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Not so coincidentally, three straight subpar performances from Andrew Andrews last month coincided with the Washington men’s basketball team’s three-game losing streak.

His shooting slump included a 1-for-12 outing at Utah followed by a 3-for-13 display at Colorado. Making matters worse, the next game he got benched in the second half.

The sophomore guard played just five scoreless minutes during a 64-60 victory over Stanford on Feb. 12. It was the shortest stint of his college career and the only time he failed to score a point in a game at UW.

That night he returned home and reviewed the video. He saw a careless turnover, two silly fouls and defensive miscue that allowed a three-pointer.

“It was just little things that I was either doing or not doing,” Andrews said. “It wasn’t a whole lot there because I only played five minutes, but it was mistakes I knew I could control.”

In Portland, Dony Wilcher, a personal trainer and career counselor who has worked with Andrews the past six years, saw something else.

“There was some kind of disconnect,” Wilcher said. “When you’re fighting through a season, there come those points where there’s a disconnect between a player and coach.

“From what I saw, the team at that particular moment looked better without him or despite him. It looked like he needed some type of shake-up or something to rattle some things in him because he’d come off a tough shooting night at (Colorado).”

Andrews and Wilcher communicate after every game. When things are going well, Wilcher will send a short text.

“He has enough people telling him how great he is,” Wilcher said.

After disappointing outings like the Stanford game, their conversations are longer.

“The biggest thing he told me was to just control what I can control,” Andrews said. “And that’s kind of been the motto that I’ve always had, but he just reminded me of that.”

In the past four games, Andrews is the only Pac-12 player averaging at least 16.8 points and 8 rebounds. He scored a career-high 21 points against California. And he collected a personal-best nine rebounds versus Washington State.

“There’s no question these last four game Andrews Andrews has been very good,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He’s playing his best basketball since he’s been here, and that’s good to see.”

When Andrews plays well, good things usually happen for Washington (16-13, 8-8), which has won consecutive games by 20-plus points for the first time since 2005.

The Huskies play UCLA at 6 p.m. Thursday at Alaska Airlines Arena. Due to the league’s unbalanced schedule, it’s the only regular-season meeting with the Bruins (22-7, 11-5), who need two wins to secure the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament.

Washington is in ninth place and hoping to improve its seeding.

A couple of weeks ago, when the Huskies had lost five of six games, it looked as if their season would end early in the Pac-12 tournament. But their recent late-season resurgence has fostered renewed optimism.

“Part of playing basketball at this level is you have to be mentally strong,” Andrews said. “There’s going to be good streaks and bad streaks. ... The only thing you can do is just work on your game. Try to prevent the amount of bad streaks that happen and try to make the good streaks last as long as possible. That’s where I’m at right now.”

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278

or pallen@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @percyallen



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