Game Preview: Seattle Pacific

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by: John Chase

SPU is coming in riding high after beating Arizona in Arizona 69-68. This makes their third straight win over a D1 opponent dating back to last season. They finished 20-10 last season with a 12-6 conference record.

The Falcons, while DII, have shown they can compete with their D1 opponents. Without Aziz N’Diaye the Huskies will have a little more on their plate as SPU sports a 6-10 240lb player and 6-11 240lb player.

Last year’s exhibition was a blowout and this year’s is likely to be the same. Sure, they beat UA, but the Huskies will be a bit more prepared, a bit more experience, and a bit more talented. Let’s take a quick look at their roster and what they bring to the game.

SPU Roster:

Jonnie Washburn, 6-2 175lb
Ryan Todd, 6-2 180lb
David Downs, 6-2 185lb
Riley Carel, 6-2 190lb
Jeff Dorman, 6-2 190lb
Riley Stockton, 6-4 195lb
Josh Jordan, 6-5 195lb
Alex Weber-Brader, 6-5 195lb
Jobi Wall, 6-6 215lb
Jake Anderson, 6-6 210lb
Scott Morse, 6-7 190lb
Kellan Moll, 6-8 220lb
Cory Hutsen, 6-8 230lb
Modou Niang, 6-10 240lb
Andy Poling, 6-11 240lb

Andy Poling was a beast for SPU last season. He was third in scoring at 14 points per game and second in rebounding at 7 rebounds an outing. At 6-11 he has great height and with 240lb he can muscle most players around. Poling also manged to average a block a game.

Aziz N’Diaye would have been a great match-up for Poling. It’ll be up to Darnell Gant and Desmond Simmons to contain the SPU big men.

David Downs is their best returning guard with a 7 point per game average. He also had a team high 4 assists per game. Downs is the returning 3 point expert at 41% (35-86).

As a team SPU is fairly uptempo, averaging over 75 points per game and a decently respectable 35 boards per game. These are better numbers than some Pac-12 teams (yes, the competition is worse) and the Dawgs would be wise not to overlook the Falcons.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups:

Seattle Pacific University:

G – David Downs 6-2 185lb
G – Jeff Dorman 6-2 190lb
F – Jobi Wall 6-6 215lb
F – Jake Anderson 6-6 210lb
C – Andy Poling 6-11 240lb

Washington:

G – Abdul Gaddy, 6-3 185lb
G – C.J. Wilcox, 6-5 185lb
F – Terrence Ross, 6-6 195lb
F – Desmond Simmons, 6-7 220lb
F – Darnell Gant, 6-8 230lb

Keys to the Game:

  • Get in the Paint Early – UW needs to establish their post quick and early to open up our perimeter shooters. Get the ball to Simmons on the block or Gant at the high post and let them work. UW can also drive the lanes and pressure their big men into sloppy fouls. Getting Poling and Niang out of the game early will help our cause immensely.
  • Attitude and Hustle – Playing in an exhibition game against a D2 opponent can seem very unimportant in the grand scheme of things and statistically it is. What is important to remember is that these games help sort out in-game chemistry issues and allow coaches and players to find out how they’ll react in a game situation. The Dawgs need to give 100% the entire game and not allow their ego get in the way of a quick and easy preseason win.
  • Get the Freshmen Some Minutes – With 7 freshmen on the roster, we have a lot of young talent that needs to get rid of the first game jitters and discover themselves at the college level. A lot of this talent is in the post, which makes it even more critical that they find confidence in themselves and their teammates to ensure success later in the season.

Game Prediction:

UW should break out quick and early with SPU tagging along for the first 5 or 7 minutes. UW’s depth on the perimeter should open the game up.

SPU’s post will be tougher to handle and I suspect a majority of their offense will run off the block. The key to preventing that is controlling the backcourt with tenacious defense.

Look for Terrence Ross to show off some athletic moves, Tony Wroten to wow with a few crazy passes, and our bench players to see their fair share of minutes.

The court should mostly be bench players when the final buzzer roars as risking injuries to first stringer in an exhibition game is just plain silly.

Final Score Prediction: UW-84 SPU-60

Romar always instills a great sense of defensive importance in his program and players. UW has much better athletes who should be able to shut down most of SPU’s offensive capabilities.

I think the offense will be a bit down after last season and more players will need to learn how to get in a groove, which will prevent a 100 point outing. Not saying it couldn’t be done with the shooters our team has, but I’d be amazed if it happened. Easy game, easy win, lots of fun.

Let’s get the excitement started and get ready for some great basketball.