GAME NOTES: Two teams looking to make up some ground in the Pac-12 standings will meet up at the Huntsman Center, as the Washington Huskies come calling on the Utah Utes.
Lorenzo Romar's Huskies are 13-9 on the season, but have lost three of their last five games to fall to a modest 5-4 in league play. Washington was in action this past weekend and came out on the losing end of a 72-67 decision against instate rival Washington State.
Larry Krystkowiak's Utes have had even less success in conference play, sporting a 3-6 league ledger thanks in large part to the team's current three- game slide. Utah was at Colorado last weekend and left Boulder with a heart- breaking 79-75 overtime loss.
Washington holds an 8-6 series advantage against Utah and is seeking the regular-season sweep after a narrow 59-57 victory in Seattle on Jan. 8.
The Huskies took a two-point lead into the half against the Cougars last weekend, but shot just 38.9 percent from the floor after the break and dropped the five-point decision in Pullman. Star guard C.J. Wilcox had a strong game, but his 24 points weren't enough to lead Washington to victory. Perris Blackwell recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
A strong offensive squad, Washington enters this week averaging a stout 76.0 ppg. Wilcox is a big reason for that, ranking second in the Pac-12 in scoring at a hefty 19.8 ppg. The 6-foot-5 senior is one of the league's top snipers, shooting .428 from behind the arc, while amassing 68 3-pointers on the year. Scoring depth comes in the form of Williams-Goss (12.9 ppg), Andrews (12.6 ppg) and Blackwell (10.6 ppg).
Utah's record belies the team's efficient play at both ends of the floor. The Utes are shooting 50 percent from the field (fifth nationally), putting up 79.2 ppg, while limiting foes to just .402 shooting and 63.0 ppg. The team also enjoys positive margins in both rebounding (+4.7) and turnovers (+2.0). Three of the team's five starters are averaging double figures in the scoring column, led by Delon Wright's 16.1 ppg. The 6-5 junior is also tops on the team in assists, ranking fifth in the league at 5.3 apg. Jordan Loveridge is a close second in scoring at 16.0 ppg, followed by Brandon Taylor and his 10.3 ppg.
The Utes allowed a six-point halftime lead to evaporate, as the hometown Buffaloes tied things up to force overtime and then went on to send Utah away with a loss by outscoring the Utes 14-10 in the extra session. Wright posted a double-double in defeat with 17 points and 11 assists. Taylor matched Wright's scoring total with 17 points of his own, while Dakari Tucker checked in with 11.
All 14 of Utah's wins have come at the Huntsman Center, with only Oregon earning a win in Salt Lake City this season in overtime. The Huskies have not traveled well and this has all the makings of another road loss for Washington.
Game Date and Time