GAME: Washington (4-1, 0-0 Pac-12) at Nevada (4-3, 0-0 Western Athletic Conference). WHEN: Friday, 8 p.m., Lawlor Events Center, Reno. MEETING: 8th (Washington leads 6-1). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV/RADIO: ESPNU / KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.
The University of Washington men’s basketball team launches a coast-to-coast tour this week in which the Huskies will log nearly 6,000 miles over a 10-day span, beginning with Nevada.
The Huskies will then spend six spend six days in New York City, where they will play Marquette as part of the Jimmy V Classic Tuesday, and Duke as part of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic Saturday, Dec. 10.
Washington is 4-1 with all of its wins coming at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Wolf Pack started the season 0-2, but has won four of its past five. Washington leads the Pac-12 in scoring (82.6 ppg), 3-point FG PCT (.461), total rebounds (43.0 rpg), offensive rebounds (14.4 pg), blocked shots (5.8 bpg) and 3-point FG’s made (8.2 pg).
Nevada, picked to win the Western Athletic Conference in a preseason media poll, returns 11 lettermen, including all starters from last year. Heading the list is preseason WAC Player of the Year (selected by league coaches) Deonte Burton, who earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors last season. Senior forward Dario Hunt and junior guard Malik Story were named to the preseason second team. Nevada went 13-19 last year with primarily a new roster.
SERIES: Dates to March 16, 1984, when Washington defeated Nevada 65-54, in the NCAA Sub-Regionals in Pullman. Washington has won its past three against Nevada and has not been beaten by the Wolfpack since 1989. The teams last met on Dec. 22, 2010, the Huskies prevailing 90-60, as Isaiah Thomas had 24 points and Matthew Bryan-Amaning 16. Washington led by as many as 37.
LAST GAME (Washington): C.J. Wilcox shook off a benching — plus a concussion he sustained five days earlier in a blowout loss at Saint Louis — to score 19 points on 5-for-9 shooting from 3-point range, as the Huskies romped to an 88-65 win over Houston Baptist at Alaska Airlines Arena. Terrence Ross added 13 and a career-best 13 rebounds and four blocks. The Huskies used a 21-1 run late in the first half to put away Houston Baptist.
LAST GAME (Nevada): Story scored 20 points, including two free throws with six seconds left, and Nevada held on for a 64-59 victory over Bradley on the final day of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. Story was 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. Olek Czyz added 18 points and seven rebounds. Nevada led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Bradley rallied and was within two, 59-57, with 1:17 left. Czyz hit a layup and a free throw in the final minute to push the Nevada lead back to five.
COACHES: Lorenzo Romar is in his 10th season as Washington’s head coach. Romar’s Huskies have won 166 games since 2004-05 (entering the 2011-12 season), most in any seven-year span in school history. Romar signed a 10-year contract extension last April.
David Carter: In his third season as head coach of the Wolf Pack and his 13th overall with the program. He entered the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 34-32. Carter played collegiately at St. Mary’s and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Washington (1989-90). He also spent two years as an assistant at Eastern Washington (1995-97).
UW STATS / NOTES: The Huskies have three players averaging in double figures, led by Wilcox, who is scoring at a 16.2 rate and grabbing 4.4 rebounds per game. Wilcox is hitting 55.2 percent on his 3-point attempts . . . Ross is averaging 15.8 points per game and is UW’s second-leading rebounder at 7.0 per contest . . . Freshman guard Tony Wroten is averaging 12.8 points . . . Wroten had six steals vs. Houston Baptist, the 11th Husky with 6+ in a game. He was one shy of the freshman record set by Joel Smith . . . Center Aziz N’Diaye tops Washington in rebounding at 8.0 and is adding 9.4 PPG . . . The Huskies average 82.6 points and are holding their opponents to 69.6.
NEVADA STATS / NOTES: Nevada has made more free throws than its opponents have attempted. The Wolf Pack has made 108 and its seven opponents have combined to attempt just 87 . . . Despite all the attempts, Nevada is hitting just 60.7 percent from the line . . . Story is the current Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week. Story led Nevada to a pair of wins last week in the Chicago Invitational Challenge . . . Senior Dario Hunt will make his 100th career start for Nevada . . . Patrick Nyeko, a 6-6 junior guard, attended Seattle Prep.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: Romar this week allowed as to how his youngsters were a bit overcome with the first-road-game jitters against Saint Louis, a team that is now in the top 25.
“In that first half, we didn’t compete and defend like we should,” he said. “Credit Saint Louis, but I think we’re a lot better than that. We have to create our own energy on the road and not let the game get away from us.”
Friday in Reno is the first opportunity to prove him right. PG Abdul Gaddy has to take better command of the floor, and N’Dyiae needs to act like he’s an experienced, formidable seven-footer. Wroten is really flashing some superior skills, but the typical freshman dumbs are compromising his game for the moment. Ross is clearly the best player on the floor (seven rebounds a game), and the more the game runs through him, the better UW will be. Washington 78, Nevada 74.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: Nevada started this season with a pair of losses, but the improving Wolf Pack has won four of its past five.
Washington has played one road game — at Saint Louis — and was hammered. The Huskies could use a win here because their next two are against Marquette and Duke at Madison Square Garden in New York. So the prospect of a three-game losing streak looms, and Washington hasn’t lost three in a row since last January.
I think the Huskies will respond a lot better than they did at Saint Louis, but I don’t expect a huge disparity in the score. Nevada wins about 88 percent of its home games. Washington 88, Nevada 79.
COMING UP: After playing Marquette and Duke, the Huskies return to Alaska Airlines Arena for a five-game home stand that will start with UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 18) and end with Pac-12 openers against Oregon State (Dec. 29) and Oregon (Dec. 31).
University of Washington 2011-12 Schedule/Results
(Rankings Are Current)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/4/11||vs. Seattle Pacific||—||—||W||77-60||0-0|
|11/12/11||vs. Georgia State||—||—||W||91-74||1-0|
|11/13/11||vs. Florida Atlantic||—||—||W||77-71||2-0|
|11/20/11||at Saint Louis||—||23||L||77-64||3-1|
|11/25/11||vs. Houston Baptist||—||—||W||88-65||4-1|
|12/16/11||vs. UC Santa-Barbara||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/18/11||vs. South Dakota St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/22/11||vs. Cal-State Northridge||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/29/11||vs. Oregon State||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/10/12||vs. Seattle U.||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/15/12||vs. Washington St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/26/12||at Arizona St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/12/12||at Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/16/12||vs. Arizona State||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/25/12||at Washington St.||—||—||—||—||—|