Washington basketball looks to continue its undefeated streak in the desert this week when they face off with Arizona and Arizona State.
Washington basketball is now at the halfway point in the Pac-12 schedule, and they’re sitting at 9-0. This week will show once again how the top team plays on the road. The Huskies have not only played well at home, but they have also had no problem on the road during Pac-12 play. They start with the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday in Tucson.
The closest win on the road for was in Eugene against Oregon. The game came down to the last minute, but the Huskies prevailed 61-56. With every winning series on the road their confidence increases, and the Huskies know they can now win anywhere in the Pac-12. They have an overall record of 18-4.
Besides having a record of 9-0 in the Pac-12, they have won 11 games in a row. The last time the Huskies lost was against No. 11 ranked Virginia Tech 73-61 on a neutral site. Last Saturday, they beat UCLA at home, 69-55, despite the loss of power forward Noah Dickerson who was injured twice in the game. He had to be helped off in the second half after two minutes with an ankle injury. Coach Hopkins said that Dickerson will travel with the team, but is still day-to day and uncertain if he’ll play on Thursday.
The Huskies have been playing well, especially on the defensive side where they are giving up a conference best 60.9 points per game. Sam Timmins had to play a lot of minutes against UCLA with Noah Dickerson out of the game, and he stepped up and played one of the best games of his career, and brought much-needed energy to the team and the crowd.
The continued success of Washington is due to different players stepping up and making a difference in each game. Jaylen Nowell and Dickerson were the only ones averaging in double digits during the non-league schedule. However, David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle have both scored in double figures since the conference schedule began. The bench has contributed as well, with strong showings from Nahziah Carter and Dominic Green.
The Arizona Wildcats have a record of 5-4 in conference play, which is good for 5th place in the conference, tieing them with UCLA and Utah. The Wildcats are 3-1 at home with their only loss coming to Oregon on January 17th, 59-54. The Wildcats are on a skid, having lost their last three games on the road to USC, UCLA and Arizona State. Returning to play in front of their home crowd, they’re looking to stop the bleeding.
The Wildcats are led in scoring by sophomore guard Brandon Randolph, who is averaging 15 points per game. He is shooting 32.7% from behind the three-point line. Arizona has two other players scoring in double digits, the first being junior center Chase Jeter with 12.4 points per game. He’s also the team leader in rebounding at 7.3 per game.
Brandon Williams is out this weekend for the Wildcats, due to a knee injury he suffered against UCLA. Not only do Randolph and Jeter have to put up their own numbers, but they will also have to get more production out of role players like senior guard Justin Coleman. Coleman is currently averaging 9.1 points a game, but he will look to take on a larger offensive role in Williams’ absence.
The Wildcats are hoping to survive over the next few games before Williams returns to the lineup, while the Huskies look to continue winning on the road. If Washington can muster two more road wins this week, it will become nearly impossible for any Pac-12 team to overtake them in the standings.