AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) – Throughout his first season in charge at Washington, Mike Hopkins has searched for signs the Huskies are progressing forward. Little moments to prove the system being implemented is successful.

Washington’s improvement has outpaced what most expected and is why the Huskies are in the conversation for an NCAA tournament bid entering the final stretch of the regular season.

But the latest challenge for Hopkins’ team is recovering from a loss unlike any other this season.

More UW Huskies news and analysis

Washington (17-8, 7-5 Pac-12) is coming off a stunning double overtime loss to Oregon State last Saturday on a 3-pointer in the final seconds and after blowing a double-digit lead in the second half. It’s the kind of setback that for the moment hasn’t damaged Washington’s NCAA hopes, but could end up being critical, depending on how the final few weeks play out. And it’s the kind of loss the Huskies have yet to experience with Hopkins in charge.

Washington hasn’t lost more than two games in a row at any point this season and will need to beat Utah on Thursday night at home to avoid its first three-game losing streak. At various times this season, Hopkins’ group has displayed surprising resilience. But few have stung like the loss to the Beavers.

“Every game matters now. Every game has mattered from day one. The difference is everybody is talking about the tournament and all these other things. That’s just interference,” Hopkins said on Wednesday. “You’ve got to focus on what you can control.”

Getting swept last week by the Oregon schools was a disappointing thud after the Huskies were the talk of the Pac-12 following home wins over Arizona State and an upset of then-No. 9 Arizona. The wins over the Arizona schools vaulted the Huskies …read more

Source:: – Sports


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