For the whole damn game, the Huskies gave me no reason to expect what they did in the final six minutes against UCLA. They couldn’t stop Josh Smith, who was a fucking Godzilla in the paint; they couldn’t stop turning the ball over, 16 total, 12 by our three best ball-handlers (Gaddy, Wroten, & Ross); they seemingly couldn’t get any good looks at the basket or any good drives.
In short, I was pissed. I was sitting there, on my couch, watching the game on ESPN3 and I was stewing. I could continue to sit there and stew and MAYBE pop a blood vessel as the team I follow continues to spin its wheels and lose to a team it is clearly better than … or I could turn the fucking thing off and watch another episode of Squidbillies and pretend this whole night didn’t even happen.
So, I turned it off. With 7 or 8 minutes left and the Huskies losing by the most they’d been losing by in that game, down 10. A little while later, when I was sure the game would be over, I went online and checked the score.
What the hell? 71-69? That can’t be right! From what I saw, that Husky team should’ve lost by 14! What kind of alternate universe did I waddle into?
Yeah, as it turns out, Terrence Ross – who had been relatively quiet with 10 points in the first 34 minutes – scored 12 of his 22 points in the final six and a half minutes. The Huskies overall went on an 18-6 run in that time, and that was that. UCLA missed five crucial shots, they turned the ball over a bunch, and they couldn’t stop fouling us. In short, UCLA played like the Huskies had played the first 34 minutes of the game.
Along with Cal losing at home to Arizona, that made Thursday a great little day! We now stand alone in first place in the Pac-12, which is important because we don’t have a chance to play Cal again.
And make no mistake, that UCLA game was a MUST win. The way I see it, the Huskies can’t lose more than 2 (MAYBE 3) games the rest of the way if they want to win the Pac-12. Cal already has the tiebreaker on us, and in spite of their loss a couple days ago, I just don’t see them losing too many more the rest of the way.
So, the Huskies need to stay hungry. They DEFINITELY can’t be losing any more home games the rest of the way. Because those final three road games are looming quite large (not to mention next week’s Oregon road games). Falling on hard times at this point will drastically reduce our chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
As it stands now, with two big wins on ESPN for a national audience, I have to think Washington is starting to pass the Smell Test. But, fuck up going forward, and the letters N.I.T. will start to have great significance in our future.