GAME: Cal State Northridge (3-6, 0-0, Big West) at Washington (5-5, 0-0 Pac-12). WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. MEETING: 5th (Huskies lead 4-0). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV: None: RADIO: KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.
Crushed under the weight of their own lethargy against South Dakota State Sunday, Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies will have an opportunity to clear away some of the rubble when they host the Cal State Northridge Matadors.
The Huskies (5-5) have lost five of their last seven after starting the season 4-1. Washington’s shocking loss Sunday to South Dakota State of the Summit League snapped UW’s streak of 32 consecutive wins against non-conference opponents.
Working in Washington’s favor: The Huskies are expected to get back center Aziz N’Diaye, who missed Washington’s past two games with a knee injury.
Noting that C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross had only nine shot attempts between them Sunday, Romar said this week: “We told the team — not just our guards — we can’t go too mamny more games with Terrence taking (so few) shots. Terrence is a phoenomenal scorer.”
In Cal State Northridge, the Huskies will be facing a Big West Conference member that opened the season 1-6, but has won its past two, including its most impressive win of the season, a 73-70 victory at Pepperdine.
Cal State has played one Pac-12 school this season, losing at Southern California 66-59 in the season opener for both schools Nov. 11.
Freshman guard Stephan Hicks is Cal State’s leading scorer at 17.6 points per game. Only one other player, sophomore guard Josh Greene, averages in double figures (10.6). Hicks is also Cal State’s leading rebounder (8.7), while Hicks is the top assist man (3.6). Hicks is a 44.4 percent shooter.
SERIES: Dates to Feb. 10, 1992, when Washington scored a 61-57 victory. All four games in the series have been played on the Washington campus.
LAST TIME (Dec. 6, 2009): Isaiah Thomas scored 21 points — 13 from the foul line — and Quincy Pondexter added 20 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies (6-1). Cal State Northridge (4-4) went up by five early and led 48-47 with five minutes gone in the second half before Washington went on a 17-2 run to take control (two current Huskies, Abdul Gaddy and Darnell Gant, played).
LAST GAME (Washington, Dec. 18): South Dakota State, hitting 8 of 11 3-point shots — 72.7 percent — and 59.4 percent overall in the first half, built a 22-point lead over heavily favored Washington and held on easily to shock the Huskies 92-73, ending Washington’s school-record 32-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. The Huskies (5-5) had not dropped a game to a non-conference foe at Alaska Airlines Arena since March 14, 2008, when they fell to Valparaiso 72-71 in a CBI tournament first-round contest.
LAST GAME (Cal Northridge, Dec. 17): Cal State Northridge matched a season-high with six players in double figures, and the Matadors pulled away in a dominating second half to top the visiting Pacifica College Gladiators 99-58. Northridge (3-6), which led by eight at halftime, outscored Pacifica 57-24 in the second half to win by a season-high 41 points. The Matadors converted a season-high 51.3% of shots from the floor and also matched a season-high with nine three-point baskets. Hicks paced the Matadors with 18 points to go with a team-high 10 rebounds.
COACHES: Romar is in his 10th season as Washingtons head coach. Romars 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. He won his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16 when the Huskies defeated UC Santa Barbara.
Bobby Braswell: Braswell is in his 15th season of overseeing the Northridge basketball program. Braswell posted three 20-win seasons during his tenure and won the Big West Conference title two years ago. Prior to arriving at Northridge, Braswell served as the top assistant at Oregon (1992-96).
UW STATS/NOTES: Washington is allowing 80.3 points per game and surrendering 76.3, a scoring difference of plus 4.0. Washington is hitting 46.6 percent of its shots and is 39.4 percent from 3-point range . . . Washington’s free throw percentage is 62.2, the third worst in a season (so far) for the program in the past four decades . . . After scoring a career-high 27 points against UC Santa Barbara and 23 against South Dakota State, freshman Tony Wroten has taken over the team scoring lead at 16.4 ppg . . .Wroten is sixth in the nation among freshman scorers . . . Wroten’s 27 matched a freshman scoring record first set by Andra Griffin in 1978 and matched by Paul Fortier in 1983, Mark Sanford in 1995 and Isaiah Thomas in 2008 . . .Ross, who had just six points against the Jackrabbits before fouling out, is second at 15.4 while Wilcox is at 15.1 . . . Abdul Gaddy is Washington’s assist leader at 4.9 per game . . . Romar is 3-2 against Northridge, all of his wins coming when he coached at Pepperdine.
CAL NORTHRIDGE STATS/NOTES: Cal State is 1-5 on the road . . . The Matadors average 69.8 points, but have only made 37.3 percent of their field goal attempts and 26.4 percent of their 3-pointers . . . The Matadors allow 74.3 points per game . . . Cal State has been out-rebounded this season by an average of 38.6 to 36.3.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: In allowing 76 points a game this season, Washington appears to have lost either the will or the ability to defend. Part of the debacle Sunday was due to the absence of N’Diaye, but that doesn’t fully explain how the Dakotan guards were able to go down the middle as if it were a car-pool lane.
It’s true that the Huskies, with so many new, young players, are still sorting out who does what. But that doesn’t preclude standing in front one one’s opponent and denying him the ball, or access, or his Skittles. If these guys get any softer, they will be doing commercials for Sleep Country mattresses. Washington 72, Cal Northridge 68.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: It’s hard to imagine Washington not taking the Cal State Northridge Matadors seriously after falling apart at home against South Dakota State. On the other hand, South Dakota State is practically North Carolina compared to Northridge.
The Matadors have already lost six games, can’t shoot the ball very well and are just 1-5 on the road. Under ordinary circumstances, Washington should win this game by 40 or more. The Huskies might — if they get serious.
Question is, will they? If they were unimpressed with the Jackrabbits, Northridge is certainly not going to jet their juices pumping. There isn’t much Romar can do about this. He can only hope his players take it upon themselves to have some pride in their effort. Washington 86, Cal State Northridge 62
COMING UP: Huskies open Pac-12 play against Oregon State Dec. 29 and Oregon Dec. 31, all at Alaska Airlines Arena, completing a five-game Washington home stand.
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|
|12/2/11||at Nevada||—||—||L||76-73 (OT)||4-2|
|12/16/11||vs. UC Santa-Barbara||—||—||W||87-80||5-4|
|12/18/11||vs. South Dakota St.||—||—||L||-92-73||5-5|
|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.||—||—||—||—||—|