After an incredible upset win against then #16 Baylor, Washington basketball takes the floor for the first time at home against the Mt. Saint Mary’s Mountaineers tonight
Before a crucial matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers in Toronto this weekend, Washington basketball must get past the Mt. Saint Mary’s Mountaineers first.
The Mountaineers are coached by Dan Engelstad who is in his second season with the school. He’s not afraid to schedule big-time programs in the non-conference slate. Besides Washington, they Univerisity of Alabama-Birmingham and Lamar who have both been to the NCAA tournament recently, and they’ll also play Georgetown and Kentucky.
Their starting lineup consists of two forwards in Malik Jefferson and Nana Opoku along with three guards Vado Morse, Damian Chong Qui, and Jalen Gibbs. Of the five starters, Gibbs is the lone junior, while the other four are sophomores. Gibbs started all 31 games last year after transferring from Drake University. He averaged 12.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season.
Morse had an outstanding freshman season for the Mountaineers averaging 14.7 points a game and was named Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year. Chong Qui started for the majority of the season, and the two have some great chemistry in the backcourt coming into their second season.
Malik Jefferson started all but one game last year for the Mountaineers. He averaged 8.5 points along with 6.1 rebounds a game. If it’s close at the end, the Huskies might try to get him to the free throw line, as he shot under 50% from the line last season.
The final starter, Opoku started 15 games last year, averaging 5.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Junior forward Omar Habwe started 23 of 31 games last year; however, he’s taken over as the Mountaineers’ sixth man this season. He averaged 9.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year.
Mt. Saint Mary’s has had more time together on the floor, but the Huskies are the more talented team, so it should be a fun game to watch, and the Huskies might be able to go up big early on.