The Pac-12’s leading scorer spoke with reporters on Thursday night with his right ankle heavily wrapped, hobbling some in the hallway outside the visitor’s locker room at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona.
A day later and about 113 miles to the northwest, Andrew Andrews sat out of the Washington Huskies’ Friday practice at Arizona State. But his coach said there is little doubt that he will play against the Sun Devils on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
“If we played a game (Friday), he probably would have been hobbling, but he probably would have been able to go. But he wouldn’t have been 100 percent,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said after the Huskies’ Friday practice at ASU’s Weatherup Center. “Another 24 hours, he’ll be a lot better.
“…We’re pretty sure he’ll play tomorrow.”
That’s good news, for sure. Andrews averages 20.6 points per game and is the Huskies’ only senior and captain. He is their offensive engine, and helps guide his mostly freshman teammates on the defensive end, too.
So, they always need him. But they need him on the road, and especially after the 99-67 punishment the Huskies absorbed at No. 18 Arizona on Thursday night.
In that game, Andrews was held to just nine points, his first single-digit scoring output in his past 27 games. That may have been due in part to the ankle injury, which he sustained late in the first half before returning to the game later.
But Washington’s problems against the Wildcats were multiple. For one, they didn’t really guard anybody, particularly in the second half, during which time Arizona made 70.4 percent of its field-goal attempts and scored 55 points.
Romar’s primary takeaway, after watching the film: “What we’ve done in the past is, for 40 minutes, (we) pretty much try to play hard. Last night was the first time that … we got distracted. Whether you call it the road or whatever it was, we got distracted, and we just began to break down in every conceivable aspect on the defensive end.”
Friday’s practice, he said, didn’t involve quite as much physical activity as usual, an attempt to save the players’ legs for Saturday’s game. But Romar said he thought the team responded well enough after Thursday’s embarrassment.
“Our guys obviously didn’t seem very cocky today, but on the flip side, we didn’t seem depressed, either,” Romar said. “I think we understood we got it handed to us (Thursday) night, and we’ve got to bounce back. Come down here, go back home with a split — we can still save a successful trip.”
It won’t be easy. ASU (11-6, 1-3 Pac-12) picked up its first league win on Thursday against Washington State, but the Sun Devils, under first-year coach Bobby Hurley, have enough quickness (point guard and leading scorer Tra Holder) and interior scoring ability (forwards Willie Atwood and Savon Goodman) to give the Huskies trouble if they don’t improve upon their Thursday performance.
ASU also owns a 9-2 record at home this season, and that mark includes a victory over 15th-ranked Texas A&M.
Romar describes the Sun Devils as “dangerous. They’re very scrappy. Tra Holder has the ball in his hands, he creates quite a bit. He’s very aggressive. He’s an assassin. And they’re very quick and very athletic.”
So are the Huskies, who could use a road split to at least partially absolve their sins from Tucson.
“To be able to recover from that and come out and be ready to go,” Romar said, “it’s going to be a challenge for us. But our guys have answered the bell a lot of times.”
UW (11-5, 3-1 Pac-12) at Arizona State (11-6, 1-3)
4 p.m., Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Arizona
TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 1000-AM/97.7-FM
All-time series: Washington leads the series 41-37.
Projected starters (Statistics for 2015-16)
12 Andrew Andrews, G (6-2, r-sr.): 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg,4.6 apg
5 Dejounte Murray, G (6-4 1/2, fr.): 14.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.8 apg
4 Matisse Thybulle, G (6-5, fr.): 5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
15 Noah Dickerson, F (6-8, fr.): 8.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg
0 Marquese Chriss, F (6-9, fr.): 11.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
0 Tra Holder, G (6-1, so.): 16.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.4 apg
4 Gerry Blakes, G (6-4, sr.): 10.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg
21 Eric Jacobsen, F (6-10, sr.): 7.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg
5 Obinna Oleka, F (6-7, jr.): 8.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
2 Willie Atwood, F (6-7, sr.): 10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Scouting report: The Huskies must prevent ASU point guard Tra Holder from breaking them down defensively with his quickness and dribble penetration. But he’s also an effective scorer from the perimeter, where he has made 19-of-40 3-pointers in ASU’s last eight games — and scored 20 or more points in each of those contests. … The Sun Devils began Pac-12 play with a home loss to Arizona and road losses at USC and UCLA, but thumped Washington State, 84-73, on Thursday night. ASU is one of 11 Pac-12 teams in the Ratings Percentage Index top 75, ranking 40th after its win over WSU. … When these teams met last season, the Sun Devils won, 78-68, at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Blakes led the way with 23 points and bruising forward Savon Goodman added 19 points and 13 rebounds. … Goodman missed four games due to injury this season but has played in ASU’s last four contests, though he has yet to play more than 22 minutes or score in double-figures since his return. … Kodi Justice, a 6-5 sophomore, is ASU’s top 3-point shooter at 40.5 percent, while Holder shoots 38.8 and Blakes, who has more 3-point attempts than anyone on the team, shoots 26.6. … ASU shoots a lower percentage from the field than all but one Pac-12 team — the Huskies — and ranks last in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage defense at 43.4 percent. The Sun Devils are also the worst 3-point shooting team in the league at 31.9 percent.