Another close contest again escaped the Huskies, as Washington held second-half leads on the Ducks in Eugene only to succumb to mistakes Wednesday night. Dropping their third in a row after the Jan. 26 dismissal of seven-foot center Robert Upshaw, the Huskies fell 78-74 three days after losing 90-88 at home to Cal.
Joseph Young, who had a game-high 32 points, floated a jumper off a drive with 23.8 seconds remaining to break a tie at 74. The Huskies attempted to work the ball inside, but with 5.6 seconds left, Oregon’s Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Jordan Bell forced Darin Johnson into a poor pass. The turnover turned into two Abdul-Bassit free throws in the final second.
The Huskies (14-8, 3-7) , who shot a season-high 56.6 percent from the field for an offense that occasionally used five guards, were led Nigel Williams-Goss with 19 points. Andrew Andrews added 14 and Shawn Kemp Jr. had 12.
For his career, including two seasons at Houston, Young has 2,002 points, the fifth active NCAA Division I player to reach the milestone. Elgin Cook added 16 points for the Ducks (16-7, 6-4 Pac-12), who won for the fourth time in five games since losing to the Huskies in Seattle 85-77.
In that game, Upshaw had 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Since his departure, along with the injury absence of 6-10 forward Jernard Jarreau, the Huskies have little inside presence.
Another game there for the taking but the Dawgs couldn’t close it out. Defense is a huge issue. It’s not that they aren’t coached for it but they don’t take pride in it. They play it going through the motions. Not in a bulldog approach of a way the way players like Venoy Overton would. Even without Robert Upshaw to protect the middle they can still utilize a defensive rotation to confuse the offense. They need Bob Kloppenberg, the Sonics former defensive guru.