It wasn't pretty, but the Huskies erased a 14-point deficit and managed to pull off a 72-74 victory over Cal-State Fullerton in the most unconventional fashion of hitting, free throws in the final minute. A win is a win and they will take it, but Lorenzo Romar takes it one step further.
"This may have been the biggest win for us of our preseason," he said, "because we're starting to get our team back."
It has been about survival with forward Shawn Kemp and senior guard Scott Suggs out with injuries. There is no denying we have seen some ugly play that has little to do with the loss of two players, but it is also hard to deny that Kemp's rebounds, Suggs' sharp-shooting and the relief in minutes they could provide has also contributed to what has been a very shaky start for the Huskies.
Partly because of the absence of these two players and partly because of the team's struggles at time to get comfortable with the newly installed high-post offense, Romar's best laid plans for the season at times have had to take a back seat to going with what works best for his limited group at the time. We have seen him go to the motion offense the past two games and on Sunday he went zone just two points into the game. You've got to do what you've got to do with what you have got and that flexibility has come into play in the last two games for the Huskies.
The good news for Romar is that he could get a lot back soon. After the win over CSFU he announced that Suggs and Kemp would attempt to practice this week. He wouldn't comment on when we could see them in games but I would think it wouldn't be a stretch that at least one of them could get minutes Saturday against Nevada.
The one silver lining in playing shorthanded is others have a chance to step up and we saw that Sunday with Desmond Simmons putting up a career night with 14 points and 18 rebounds. With Aziz N'Diaye stymied by the smaller, quicker, guard-heavy Titans (he grabbed all of four boards), Simmons was able to take over under the basket. Without his rebounds or deflections the Huskies would have suffered an ugly, costly loss.
Instead they come away with a 74-72 win and the promise of help soon.