By Shannon Drayer
The Albany loss should have been the wakeup call. Sure, the Huskies bounced back with a win against Seton Hall on the road and a decent fight put up against No. 4 Ohio State, but to be blown out on their home court in a 73-55 loss to Colorado State? I don't think it is a stretch to call that inexcusable.
With the embarrassing loss came the end of a 12-year streak of not losing back-to-back games at home. Two teams have left the Alaska Airlines Arena with milestones under their belts in this early season. Albany beat a BCS conference team for the first time and this group of Rams, according to CSU coach, Larry Eustachy did something they hadn't done to date either.
"I don't think they have had that since they have been here," he said. "Going to a place like this and winning."
The "place like this" is rapidly losing its mystique.
The news was bad from the start, or before the start, for the Huskies as senior guard Scott Suggs came out of the locker room with his teammates but stood under the basket with a boot on his foot as his team shot around. Word got out quickly that he had plantar fasciitis and at this point there is no telling how much time he will miss.
Early in the game a familiar problem was easy to spot. Rebounding. Against a similarly sized team the Huskies were getting nothing under the basket. CSU had multiple chances to score almost every time they came down the court with the only thing keeping the Huskies in the game in the first half (they actually led 30-28 at the break) was the fact Rams shot only 33 percent.
In the second half the shots were falling for the Rams, who fell one shy of matching their season in threes. Not season high, season. This was not the biggest concern, however. The biggest worry was that they got as many opportunities as they did. The Huskies were out-rebounded 45-21 and came up with seven total offensive rebounds.
"We failed miserably in that area," coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game.
Losing Suggs, who is more of a shooter, should not be the problem here. What was somewhat alarming was seeing what was happening under the basket. The Rams were flat-out fighting harder for the basketball.
"Going into this game that might be the number one key, matching their physicality," Romar said. "They just out-physicaled us."
A year ago this time of year we watched as a young Huskies squad got tripped up early by teams that weren't necessarily big-name teams but returned starters and were more experienced. You see that this time of the year. Talent tends to catch up and overtake experience as the year goes on in college basketball. This year the Huskies have that experience. This isn't a group of freshmen and sophomores out there.
This has to be discouraging for Romar, who at one point tonight had to bench his designated senior leader, Abdul Gaddy, after he made a costly defensive miscue. To his credit, Gaddy accepted and understood the benching.
"I put this one on myself," he said. "A captain's not supposed to play like that. On both sides of the floor."
"He (Romar) took me out. He said a captain is not supposed to play like that. I heard his message and I am learning from it. Won't happen again."
Gaddy also said it was up to him as the captain to get the guys to "rally up." It is now or never for this group. Romar said after the game that help was on the way. At some point before conference play begins, Suggs and Shawn Kemp, who is out with a knee injury, will be back.
Let's hope it is not to late. It would be terrible to see this campaign over before Pac-12 play begins.