GAME NOTES: The Washington Huskies play their first true road game of the season on Sunday afternoon, as they head south to tangle with the 24th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena.
Washington is in the midst of a modest two-game win streak, the team rallying to push past the .500 mark as it currently sits at 4-3. The Huskies' latest venture saw them survive a double-overtime affair versus visiting Long Beach State a week ago Saturday, prevailing in a 92-89 final.
San Diego State brings a 6-1 record into this contest, and it is riding a five-game win streak at the moment. The Aztecs won the Wooden Legacy at the end of November by notching wins over the College of Charleston, Creighton and Marquette, the latter two being teams that were among the nationally-ranked at the time. SDSU's most recent triumph came in a 65-64 nail biter against local rival San Diego on Thursday.
This bout marks only the third all-time meeting between these two teams, and Washington won both previous encounters.
Only eight players saw action in Washington's marathon win over Long Beach State, and six of them scored in double figures. Mike Anderson was a man possessed in logging a double-double consisting of 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Perris Blackwell and Andrew Andrews tallied 18 points apiece, while C.J. Wilcox finished with 15 despite going just 5-of-17 from the field. Nigel Williams-Goss chipped in with 10 points, and he and Andrews each doled out five assists. UW won the game even though it shot just 38.5 percent from the floor, using a 25-7 edge in points from the foul line in order to do so. Wilcox has been a beast in the first month, averaging a gaudy 22.6 ppg, nearly 10 ppg more than his closet teammate -- Blackwell (13.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg). Additionally, Williams-Goss (12.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.0 apg), Andrews (12.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Mike Anderson (10.3 ppg) and Darin Johnson (9.9 ppg) have all performed well for a Washington club that averages a robust 84.1 ppg, but gives up an even greater 86.1 ppg. Foes are hitting their field goals 51.8 percent of the time, which includes a 38.6 percent showing from 3-point range.
Xavier Thames scored 17 points and Josh Davis logged a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, and both efforts were integral in helping San Diego State slip past rival San Diego on Thursday night. Dwayne Polee II and Skylar Spencer chipped in with a dozen points apiece for the Aztecs, who shot just 36.2 percent from the field, draining only 4-of-12 3-point attempts along the way. The Toreros nailed 8-of-14 long-range tries, but suffered a crippling 44-29 rebounding deficit which SDSU used to help post a massive 29-2 advantage in second-chance points. The Aztecs also outscored the hosts in bench points, 19-5. Thames continues to pace the team in scoring with his 17.4 ppg, while Winston Shepard is next with 11.0 ppg. JJ O'Brien (10.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) rounds out the unit's double-digit scorers, and Davis (8.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg) is the club's top glass cleaner, but is a terrible free-throw shooter (15-of-32, .469). San Diego State plays terrific team defense, limiting its foes to just 58.0 ppg and typical shooting outputs of .377 overall and .298 from beyond the arc. Factor in positive margins in both rebounding (+7.3) and turnovers (+3.0), and it's not difficult to see why the team is off to such a great start.
The Huskies aren't about to roll over and play dead in this one, but they are likely to come up short in their bid to log that first road victory of the season.