The lack of depth in the frontcourt reared its ugly head on Wednesday night for the Washington Huskies as they were torn apart by the California Golden Bears by a final of 82-56. The loss dropped Washington to 11-7 and 3-2 in Pac-12 play, while improving California to 13-4 and 4-0 in Pac-12 play.
Washington has been dealing with injuries to their big men all season starting with the loss of Jernard Jarreau to a torn ACL during the first game of the season. Also missing time so far this season have been Desmond Simmons, who missed 10 games, and Shawn Kemp Jr., who has been dealing with an illness and a knack for early foul trouble that has left him ineffective.
Florida International transfer Gilles Dierickx is still very raw as a sophomore and has not seen much of the court, although he does stand at 7-feet tall.
The bright spot in the frontcourt has been University of San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell, although he did not show it in this game with only one point and one rebound. Blackwell normally averages 11 points and nearly 7.5 rebounds per game for Lorenzo Romar.
Either Simmons or Kemp will need to elevate their games, or else the Huskies will continue to be destroyed in the paint. California post players Richard Solomon and David Kravish combined 23 rebounds on Wednesday, which nearly eclipsed the entire mark of the Huskies team.
The other key for the Huskies, if they want to make a run in the Pac-12 and into the NCAA Tournament, will be consistent production from the other starters who are not named C.J. Wilcox. Andrew Andrews and Nigel Williams-Goss have combined for an average of just over 25 points per game this season for the Huskies, but were nowhere to be found against Cal as the pair combined for 14 points on 5-of-22 shooting.
If you take away the shooting numbers from Wilcox, then the Huskies’ shooting percentage drops from the already-bad 30.2 percent to an even worse 25 percent (12-of-48).
Numbers like that will not equal success in any league at any level of basketball. Romar has his work cut out for him with another tough road test at the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday in Palo Alto, a game that will surely be a must-win if the Huskies are truly contenders in the deep Pac-12 Conference this season.