February 11, 2012 in Sports

Romar says UW still a work in progress

Percy Allen Seattle Times

CORVALLIS, Ore. – It’s not as if Lorenzo Romar didn’t trust his basketball team, but in the days before Thursday’s 82-57 loss at Oregon he wasn’t exactly high on the Huskies.

They had a five-game winning streak and were alone in first place in the Pac-12, but Romar cautioned Washington was still a work in progress.

He laughed when it was suggested the Huskies were in the driver’s seat with four weeks remaining in the conference race.

“I don’t feel like that at all,” Romar said. “Maybe it’s because we’ve been digging ourselves out of a hole all year long.

“We could look up in two weeks and literally be in fifth place.”

That’s not an exaggeration. With six games remaining, half of the conference has a legitimate shot at the regular-season title. Only two games separate the top six teams, which should produce an exciting scramble down the stretch.

California (19-6 overall) and Washington (16-8) are at the top of the conference with 9-3 records.

A year ago, the Huskies were in a similar position at the midpoint of the season and lost three straight games and finished the season in third place.

Shortly after Thursday’s loss at Oregon, senior co-captain Darnell Gant began reminding the Huskies of last season’s failures.

“And we don’t want that to happen because then that could turn our whole season around,” he said. “These next few days are crucial.”

After everything the Huskies did to recover from a disappointing nonconference season, Gant would hate to see their success unravel like it did a year ago.

He said Washington has “got to move forward” when it faces Oregon State (15-9, 5-7) at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Gant said the co-captains, including Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs, have to instill “a sense of urgency just to get the guys motivated earlier. I thought everybody was motivated and knew what’s at stake, but in the beginning of the (Oregon) game we just didn’t start off right.”

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