Sept. 1, 2012
The loss dropped the Huskies to 2-2 on their 16-day, seven-game trip as they head north on Sunday to play twice in Paris this week.
Monaco, a third-tier professional team from the small nation on the border of France, made only 23 field goals but was able to get the ball down low or drive to the basket often and took 35 free throws, making 31 of those attempts.
Washington, on the other hand, had plenty of open looks from the field but struggled to convert. Monaco played a zone defense for the entire 40 minutes and it paid off for them as the Huskies were 31-of-80 from the field for 38.8% and converted nine of 27 3-point attempts.
"They zoned us and it was tough for us," said Husky Coach Lorenzo Romar. "During the summer when we had our 10 practices we pretty much just worked on man-to-man and tried to put in a new offense.
"Still, with the zone, we got wide-open shots."
The Husky trio of Wilcox, Suggs and Gaddy each hit seven shots and had at least 15 attempts from the field, but after that no other UW player made more than three field goals. Wilcox and Suggs shared scoring honors with 18 each, while Gaddy chipped in 17 points. Wilcox also added 13 rebounds and four steals, but it wasn't enough for the Huskies.
Still, Washington was in the game at the end. Monaco took a 62-49 lead into the fourth quarter before the Huskies mounted a comeback. Trailing by 15, Washington went on a 15-4 during a 2:30 minute span keyed by a couple of Gaddy 3-pointers to draw within four, 70-66.
Desmond Simmons drew the Huskies to within three points, 77-74, with a couple of buckets - the last coming with 56 ticks left on the clock. But, on the ensuing possession and the shot clock winding down, Simmons fouled Travarus Bennett on a three-point attempt in which Bennett drew the contact by kicking out his legs on his shot. He converted all three free throws to give Monaco a 79-74 lead with 35 seconds left.
Monaco iced the game with four more three throws, and in all, they were 7-of-7 in the final 35 seconds.
On the flip side, the Huskies were 5-for-5 from the line for the game and Romar would have liked to have seen his team with more attempts, but he also thought his team was taking what they were given.
"I think if we went to the basket it would be great," said Romar. "But the problem is when you are wide open and turn down a wide-open shot - and I don't mean 30-footers, I mean 16 or 18-foot jumpers - it means that everybody is waiting for you down in the key.
"You would like to get to the rim, but it is just hard when you are wide open."
Four Monaco players scored in double figures, led by Bennett, a former Big-10 Defensive Player of the Year for Minnesota, who had 19. Diego Vebobe had 18 and Mehdi Labeyrie had 16. Nemandja Calasan had 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Monaco jumped out to a 29-22 advantage after the first quarter before Washington was able to draw even at 36 with 3:07 remaining in the first half. Monaco outscored the Huskies 8-2 from there to take a 44-38 halftime advantage.
Washington stayed with Monaco in the third quarter before an 11-0 run by the host team and a five-minute scoring drought by the Huskies gave Monaco an 18-point advantage - its largest of the day - at 62-44.
"I thought the turning point of the game was in the third quarter and we came out and fought back, but we made 1-of-10 during a stretch and just couldn't get the ball to go down," Romar said, in a re-occurring theme.
"Again, we had wide open looks, but just didn't knock down open shots."
The Huskies fly to Paris on Sunday before playing again on Monday and Tuesday.