Other than an inability to hit from outside, inside or at the free-throw line, things went all right for Washington Thursday night in Eugene. No one died.
The Huskies’ confidence, however, took a thumping. Behind 8-0 to start and 43-19 late in the first half, the Huskies took their most lopsided defeat of the Pac-12 Conference season at the hands of the Oregon Ducks, 82-57.
Coming into the game as the conference leader at 9-2, the Huskies reached Knight Arena 45 minutes late because of an auto accident that delayed their bus. They would have been better off to have stayed on. The Huskies fell back into a tie with 9-3 Cal for the league lead, while the Ducks improved to 8-4 and 17-7, the same overall mark as Washington.
“We weren’t there tonight,” said Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar. “Oregon ran the same offense the last time we played them. They played the same defenses. They’re better, but there was nothing new to us. We didn’t execute. One of our poorer efforts, as far as execution.
“(The Ducks) came out with an energy level much higher than ours for entire 40 minutes. We didn’t have energy we should have. Early on, we missed some layins and wide-open shots and broke down mentally.”
The 57 points equaled Washington’s Pac-12 season low, but that was in a win over Utah. The margin of defeat topped the 18 in a loss at Colorado. The Huskies shot a season-low 36 percent from the field, missing 14 of 16 three-point attempts. They had seven assists and 13 turnovers.
The low-energy, low-output game came after a sweep of the Los Angeles schools in Seattle and appeared to have left the Huskies without an edge, despite a five-game winning streak as well as three in a row on the road. It was Washington’s worst loss to the Ducks since 2003.
The Ducks meanwhile, were nearly flawless on both ends wire to wire, never letting Washington get a shred of momentum. Garrett Sim, a 6-2 guard, scored the Ducks’ first eight points and hit his first five shots to get the Ducks off fast and finished with 13 points. Carlos Emory led Ducks off the bench with a career-high 16 points.
The Ducks won for the seventh time in 10 games and avenged a 76-60 loss to the Huskies in Seattle, helping prompt the Ducks’ student section to chant, “Just like football! Just like football!” referring to the Ducks’ dominance of the last decade.
“We made a lot of defensive errors,” said starting forward Desmond Simmons, referring mostly to the Ducks’ 64 percent shooting in the first half. “We can’t defend like that and expect to win. We worked on their match-up zone, but we sat around too much. That hurt us.
“I’m wondering what happened. I felt like we were ready to play. I’m still kind of stumped. It was our worst night offensively we’ve ever had.”
Tony Wroten led Washington with 14 points but a thigh bruise continued to limit his effectiveness. He had six turnovers. Terrence Ross, the Portland native returning to his home state, scored eight points on 4-for-12 shooting.
It was another emotionally flat result for a young team that has had several such games, leaving Romar wondering.
“How many of these do you need like this to motivate?” he said. “This team has not been in position to protect a (league) lead before. Now we’re back to a scrapping position. I think we were embarrassed. We can’t play like this again.”
He’ll find out starting at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Corvallis against Oregon State.