It's strange to point the finger at the offense of the Washington Huskies as the culprit for their 86-83 defeat to the North Carolina Tar Heels, but that's exactly what happened. After putting up 76 points in the first 34:19 minutes, UW managed only 7 in the final 5:41, as Lorenzo Romar's inability to make Washington run a set offense doomed them down the stretch as the Huskies fumbled the ball around the perimeter and ended up with bad shot opportunities.
Washington turned the ball over four times in the final five minutes and shot 3 for 12 down the stretch, which ultimately doomed them in this contest. UW ran a couple of plays for Venoy Overton, who is normally their defensive stopper, and Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (usually their biggest offensive threats) barely touched the ball down the stretch. It's all the stranger because Washington is usually an excellent ball-handling team and North Carolina isn't that great at forcing turnovers.
Some things that do go as scripted? As we mentioned in our preview, Washington is terrible at getting to the line and keeping teams off of it. Washington shot 7 free throws (made them all, to their credit), but allowed UNC to get there 23 times, making 18 of them. Washington & North Carolina were both excellent at getting offensive rebounds. And of course, points points points, as both teams were happy to let it fire all game long. They nailed over 46% of their field goals and 50% of their three pointers combined. Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller led North Carolina home with 22 and 23 points respectively.
But UW will look back at those last five minutes and wonder what could have been. Romar really will have to ponder his coaching decisions down the stretch (or lack thereof).
For more on the Huskies, go to UW Dawg Pound. For Tar Heel perspective, check out Carolina March.