Washington has won four consecutive games by holding opponents to less than 40 percent shooting. The Huskies play the University of Utah Saturday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
GAME: Utah (8-9 overall, 0-5 Pac-12) at Washington (12-5 overall, 4-0, Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 8 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. TYPE: Conference. MEETING: 13th (Washington leads 7-5). STREAKS: UW W 4; Utah L 5. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. COACHES: Larry Krystkowiak, Utah; Lorenzo Romar, Washington. TV: ESPNU. RADIO: KJR 950 AM
When the Washington Huskies take on the University of Utah Utes, they will have a chance to open a conference season 5-0 for just the third time in the past 35 years (also 1982 and 1984). The 1982 club won just one game in the NIT, but the 1984 team, with Detlef Schrempf and Chris Welp, won twice in the NCAA Tournament.
A month ago, after brutal home losses to Albany and Nevada, it would have been absurd to suggest that this Washington team was NCAA Tournament material. But with all of his players healthy and the team suddenly committed to defense and rebounding, Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies have suddenly blossomed in conference play.
Along with UCLA (5-0) and Oregon (4-0), Washington (4-0) is undefeated in league play, winning its four by holding all four under 40 percent shotmaking.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a team hold four consecutive opponents under 40 percent shooting,” Romar said after Wednesday’s win over Colorado.
Washington held Washington State to 36.8 percent, California to 37.7, Stanford to 39.0 and Colorado to 36.2, making a believer out of Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle.
“They are so much better than last year,” Boyle said after Wednesday’s loss to UW. “Last year that (Tony) Wroten kid was out there trying to steal and gamble a lot, but this year they are so much more sound. They are so long, so athletic, and they’ve got the big guy in the middle. You’ve got to execute against them because nothing is going to come easy.”
Washington has 14 games remaining, eight at home, six on the road. With a fifth consecutive conference win Saturday to open the leagues eason, the Huskies will be off to the best league start in the Romar’s tenure. UW won six straight to start the 1983-84 season and six in a row to start the 1981-82 season. Washington won four consecutive league games to start 2010-11, best in the Romar era.
Utah doesn’t have much of a record (8-9), but a few numbers stand out. The Utes (59.4 ppg) are allowing seven points less than the national average (66.3). Utah also ranks ninth nationally in opponents field goal percentage (36.5%). Last season the Utes ranked 321st in that same category.
Utah has three players averaging in double figures, Jarred DuBois (13.0), Jordan Loveridge (12.5) and Jason Washburn (10.6). Loveridge leads in rebounds (7.4) and DuBois is the club’s top playmaker (55 assists). DuBois scored a season-high 25 points against Southern Methodist.
SERIES: Dates to Nov. 30, 1951, when the Huskies lost to the Utes 62-61 in Salt Lake City in the first of back-to-back games. Washington defeated Utah the following night 60-44. The Huskies have won the last three meetings, most recently 57-53 last Jan. 7. In that game, Terrence Ross scored 14 points and hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch to lift the Huskies to the win.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (323-206 overall, 230-116 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
UTAH NOTES: Utah won four of its first five games and five of its ensuing seven before dropping four in a row. In conference play, Utah has lost to Arizona State (55-54), Arizona (60-57), UCLA (57-53), USC (76-59) and Washington State (75-65). Brandon Taylor had 13 points and Justin Seymour 11 for the Utes (8-9, 0-5) . . . Utah ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (65.9), 2nd in scoring defense (59.4), 3rd in 3-point percentage (36.1) and 3rd in rebound margin (+5.2) . . . Utah’s longest winning streak this season is three.
UTAH HEAD COACH: Larry Krystkowiak is in his second year as head coach of the Utes and is coming off a season in which his team went 6-25. Krystkowiak served as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets prior to joining the Utes. Prior to that, Krystkowiak was the head coach at his alma mater, Montana, for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. He made the NCAA Tournament in both of those seasons. During his playing career at Montana, he was the Big Sky Most Valuable Player three times.
COMING UP: The Huskies play at Oregon and Oregon State next week and will return to Alaska Airlines Arena Jan. 31 to face the Arizona Wildcats.
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