EUGENE, Ore. – To understand how far the Washington Huskies have fallen in the past week, you could look past the Pac-10 standings in which they’ve stumbled out of first and dropped to third in the conference race behind Arizona and UCLA.
You could go beyond Washington’s three-game losing streak, its longest of the season, because the consecutive defeats do not fully reflect the magnitude of the problems.
To truly comprehend everything that’s gone wrong recently, you had to watch the Oregon players dance on the big green “O” at Matthew Knight Arena following Washington’s 81-76 defeat Saturday.
And you had to listen to Washington coach Lorenzo Romar attempt to explain yet another confusing upset on the road.
“We came out and competed,” he said. “We were not lethargic. We came out and played a lot harder.”
The team picked to win the Pac-10 conference and make a deep push in the NCAA tournament is now being complimented for doing the most basic tasks such as competing and playing hard.
But then, that’s where the Huskies are these days.
“The last three games we didn’t have that,” senior co-captain Justin Holiday said. “(We had) that in the beginning (of the season) and that’s why we won a lot of games.
“But now we have to put everything together. Have the effort. Have the energy. Get the stops and play smart on offense. That’s what it comes down to.”
The Huskies (15-7, 7-4) haven’t played a complete game since they destroyed California 92-71 and knocked off Arizona 85-68 two weeks ago.
Something happened to Washington after the victory over the Wildcats that threatens to ruin a season that was supposed to be sweet if not elite.
“I just don’t think we’re doing as well as we did in the past on the defensive end,” Matthew Bryan-Amaning said. “In the past, when you hear Washington basketball, you think of defense first and it kind of scares teams.
“And now teams are looking forward to playing us.”
Oregon wasn’t intimidated by Washington, as the Ducks did just about anything they wanted on offense.
Ducks senior forward Joevan Catron finished with a team-best 20 points and nine rebounds, sophomore forward E.J. Singler had 16 points and junior forward Tyrone Nared added 14.
Oregon (12-11, 5-6) received 12 points from reserve guard Jay-R Strowbridge.
The Huskies countered with a balanced-scoring attack in which four players scored in double figures.
Bryan-Amaning had a game-high 21 points and Holiday 16. Isaiah Thomas added 13 points to go along with his six assists and five rebounds while freshman Terrence Ross chipped in 12 points.