Washington basketball faces their in-state rival, trying to put this five-game losing streak behind them
Washington basketball is dead last in the Pac-12 with a record of 2-8, after dropping the last five in a row, and it might be time for head coach Mike Hopkins to think about making some changes in the lineup to see what could spark this Husky team.
Isaiah Stewart, the Huskies’ leading scorer and rebounder at 17.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game is obviously not going anywhere in the lineup. Fellow freshman Jaden McDaniels who, like Stewart, expected to head to the NBA after this season, has had more than his fair share of issues on the court. Twice during the streak, he’s been charged with technical fouls that spurned runs by the opposition. Hopkins has proven that he won’t deal with McDaniels’ attitude, sitting him for most of the second half against Arizona State.
Redshirt freshman Nate Roberts, a very good rebounder, hasn’t had a lot of playing time. The Huskies need help down low this year and beyond, and it’s crucial that they try to develop Roberts and give him more time on the floor. He should see more minutes when Stewart, McDaniels, and Hameir Wright are on the bench.
The Cougars are 4-6 in the Pac-12 and are likely to be favored going into the game against the Huskies, even though they’re far less-talented as a team.
The Cougs are led in scoring and rebounding by one of the most exciting players in the Pac-12, in sophomore forward CJ Elleby, who averages 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Also, he leads the Cougars in steals and blocked shots.
Last year, the Cougars lost both games to the Huskies and holding Elleby to five points and five turnovers was how the Huskies escaped Pullman last year with a 72-70 win. Elleby was a standout at Cleveland High School in Seattle, and seemed to want to go to Washington, but was not recruited by the staff.
The other starters for Washington State are guards Isaac Bonton, Noah Williams, Jervae Robinson, and forward Jeff Pollard. Bonton is the only other player for the Cougs scoring in double figures, averaging 14.5 points per game. He also leads the team in assists, averaging 4 per game.
The Cougars are starting a rebuild under new head coach Kyle Smith. A win over the Huskies would be big for their program.
This season it has not been easy to win on the road; the Huskies need to put that behind them now and find a way to get the job done on the road. If the Huskies want any shot at postseason play, they need to find a way to figure out all their struggles now, and try to make a run before the Pac-12 tournament starts.