Washington has taken three in a row from the Washington State Cougars, but all three have been close with the Huskies winning the three by a combined 16 points.
GAME: Washington (8-5 overall, 0-0, Pac-12) at Washington State (9-4 overall, 0-0 Pac-12. WHEN: Saturday, 6:30 p.m., Friel Court, Pullman, WA. TYPE: Conference. MEETING: 275th (UW leads 174-100). STREAKS: UW L 1; WSU W 4. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. COACHES: Lorenzo Romar, Washington; Ken Bone, WSU. TV: ESPNU. RADIO: KJR 950 AM.
After a week’s respite following the conclusion of their less-than-edifying non-conference season, the Washington Huskies launch Pac-12 play Saturday night at Washington State in what will be the 275th meeting between the schools. The Huskies, the defending regular-season conference champions, and Cougars have opened league play against each on just seven previous occasions, most recently in 2008-09.
For the Huskies, who are 7-2 in their past nine against WSU, their main task will be weathering an expected onslaught by Brock Motum of the Cougars, a player UW head coach Lorenzo Romar calls the most versatile player in the league. The 6-foot-10 Motum leads WSU in scoring (19.7) and rebounding (7.0).
“He plays on the perimeter, he shoots it from the perimeter, he drives it, he can post you up, he passes and he make free throws,” said Romar. “That makes him a tough cover. When you’re as versatile he is, you have a lot of options. He can just do many things. He’s a guard and he’s a “big” all in one. A guy of that size who can do all those things is difficult to deal with.”
Motum ranks second in the Pac-12 and 22nd in the nation in scoring and has tallied 23 or more points in five of his last seven games. He’s reached double figures in every game this season.
The Huskies enter conference play slightly improved, in Romar’s estimation, over what they were at the beginning of the season when they began the process of adjusting, in the absence of Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten, to a new high-post offense. That’s due in part to the fact that UW is finally healthy with Shawn Kemp Jr. and Andrew Andrews having recently rejoined the rotation.
“We’re slowly making progress,” said Romar, who said the biggest surprise of the non-conference schedule was losing three times at home. “We’re much better than we were early, although our record doesn’t reflect that. But we can see improvement.”
So can WSU head coach and former UW assistant Ken Bone, whose Cougars finished their non-conference slate with a 9-4 record after winning seven of their last eight, including the last four.
“Washington went back to Connecticut (last Saturday) and got beat (61-53), but now they (the Huskies) have all their pieces back,” said Bone. “They are healthy and they did some good things against Connecticut. I thought they executed well on both ends of the court. I thought they just got beat by a good team. I was impressed with the way they played.”
Washington is 5-6 under Romar in Pullman and 12-10 in all games against Washington State. Overall, Romar is 6-4 in conference openers and has won his last four. Washington State is 14-12 at home in conference openers since 1968-69, but hasn’t won a conference opener in Pullman since Jan. 5, 1995. On the other hand, WSU is 7-1 at home this season, and three of WSU’s four losses have come by two points or less, including a 71-69 setback to nationally ranked Gonzaga.
Washington is coming off a dismal 27.7 percent shooting effort against UConn, its lowest field goal percentage since making just 29.2 percent against Kansas Nov. 24, 2008. Chris Wilcox had his worst effort of the season in that game, scoring just five points, snapping an 18-game streak of double-digit scoring performances.
SERIES: Dates to Feb. 16, 1910, when Washington defeated Washington State 13-9 in Seattle. Washington is 100-35 at home against WSU, 72-62 away and 2-3 at neutral sites. The Huskies have won seven of the last nine meetings, including three in a row. In the last meeting, Feb. 25, 2012, Washington prevailed 59-55. Tony Wroten scored 21 points and C.J. Wilcox added 16 and made the clinching free throws in the final 10 seconds.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (319-206 overall, 226-116 UW) is coming off a year in which the Huskies won the Pac-12 regular-season title. Romar has taken the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times and won three Pac-10 Tournament titles (2005, 2010, 2011). Romar, who signed a 10-year contract extension in April 2011, won his his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16, 2011. He had his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach on Jan. 21, 2012. Romar was selected the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Romar played for the Huskies under head coach Marv Harshman during the 1979-80 seasons (served as team captain his senior year), and had a five-year NBA career with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85). He became a college head coach at Pepperdine in 1997, where he coached for three seasons, then spent three years (1999-02) at St. Louis University before taking the Washington job in 2002-03.
2012-13 Washington Statistics
WSU NOTES: The Cougars have wins over Eastern Washington (88-69), Utah Valley (72-49), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (66-38), Idaho (64-55), Portland (72-60), Fresno State (59-50), Jackson State (62-41), Buffalo (69-54) and Idaho State (74-39). The Cougars’ losses have come against Pepperdine (58-56), Kansas (78-41), Texas A&M (55-54) and Gonzaga (71-69) . . . Washington State ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (64.0), 1st in scoring defense (55.2), 7th in scoring margin (+8.8), 10th in field goal percentage (45.5), 8th in free throw percentage (67.6), 8th in 3-point percentage (33.6), T10 in rebounding (36.2), 12th in blocked shots (3.3), 9th in assists (12.8) and 12th in steals (4.2) . . . Brock Motum is the Pac-12’s second leading scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game. The Cougars do not have another scorer among the league’s top 30 . . . Motum is also WSU’s leading rebounder at 7.0 per game and ranks 13th in the conference in blocked shots (1.2).
WSU HEAD COACH: After two-straight postseason appearances, including the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 2010-11 and the championship round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) in 2011-12, Ken Bone is in his fourth season as head coach of the Cougars. Bone was named the 17th head coach in Cougar basketball history April 6, 2009. He spent the previous four years resurrecting the program at Portland State where he led the Vikings to NCAA Tournament appearances his final two seasons. Bone served as head coach at Seattle Pacific from 1990-02 and worked as a UW assistant from 2002-05.
COMING UP: The Huskies will play two in the Bay Area against California and Stanford before returning to Alaska Airlines Arena Jan. 16 to face the University of Colorado.
University of Washington 2012-13 Schedule
(Rankings From Associated Press)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/11/12||@vs. W. Washington||—||—||W||88-78||0-0|
|11/17/12||*vs. Seton Hall||—||—||W||84-73||2-1|
|11/18/12||*vs. Ohio St.||—||4||L||77-66||2-2|
|11/24/12||vs. Colo. St.||—||—||L||73-55||2-3|
|11/28/12||vs. Saint Louis||—||—||W||66-61||3-3|
|12/13/12||at Seattle U.||—||—||W||87-74||5-4|
|12/15/12||vs. Jackson St.||—||—||W||75-67||6-4|
|12/20/12||vs. Cal Poly||—||—||W||75-62||7-4|
|12/22/12||vs. N. Illinois||—||—||W||67-57||8-4|
|1/23/13||at Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/16/13||vs. Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/6/13||#Final 4 Semi||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/8/13||#Final 4 Champ.||—||—||—||—||—|
@=Exhibition; *=Hall of Fame Classic; ^=Pac-12 Tournament; #=NCAA Tournament