If their Sunday morning non-conference game was supposed to be a tune-up, the Washington Huskies basketball team was temporarily tone-deaf.
In charge from the start, the Saint Louis Billikens of the Atlantic-10 Conference hit their first seven field goals and went on to crush the visiting Huskies, 77-64. Leading 50-25 at the half and by 29 later on, the Billikens eased up and allowed the Huskies to close the gap a bit.
The Huskies (3-1) followed up three relatively easy home wins by being walloped in their first road game of the season. A slow start was not entirely unexpected — the Huskies have never won a non-conference game away from home under Lorenzo Romar, falling to 0-9. Saint Louis was coming off a 10-19 season, but returned nine players under veteran coach Rick Majerus and put a defensive whipping on the intimidated Huskies.
Terrence Ross led the Huskies with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but beyond him, little was to recommend. Leading scorer C.J. Wilcox was held to four points, point guard Abdul Gaddy had two points, and Tony Wroten was scoreless in the first half before finishing with 14 points.
“They were waiting for us — you could see that,” said Romar of the Billkens, a team he coached from 1999-2002 before taking the job at UW. “We started casting up shots at eight and 10 seconds (into possessions) and you can’t do that against a good defensive team.
“We didn’t move like we should have and didn’t execute defensively.”
Romar was, however, pleased that his players adjusted after halftime.
“We did a much better job in the second half,” he said. “We learned.”
He praised Wroten’s ability to recover with a strong second half.
“He’s had his way with defenses in entire life,” Romar said. “But at this level they load up on you. He made a good adjustment. It gave me confidence that in our next road game, we’ll handle it better.”
With seven freshmen, learning will be a long-term experience for Washington.