Washington vs. Eastern Washington Game Preview

Washington (4-2) vs. Eastern Washington (1-3)

Tuesday, November 27th @ 6:00 PM PST

Alaska Airlines Arena (Seattle, Washington)

Line: Washington –17.0

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: 1000AM KOMO/97.7 FM

 

KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON

Forward – Noah Dickerson

Noah Dickerson returns for his senior season and is currently averaging 18.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season.  He is a dominant player in the paint and can also rebound the basketball.  Last season, Dickerson was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team for his stellar play.

GuardMatisse Thybulle

Matisse Thybulle returns for his senior season and is averaging 5.5 points this season and garnered 101 total steals last season.  He is the spark plug and energy of the team with his elite play on defense.  Last season, Thybulle was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Guard Jaylen Nowell

Jaylen Nowell returns for his sophomore season and is currently averaging 19.8 points and 2.2 assists per game this season.  The talented all-court guard excels in the midrange game and is often the go-to-guy down the stretch.  Last season, Nowell was named to the All-Pac-12 Freshman team.

KEY PLAYERS: EASTERN WASHINGTON

Forward Jesse Hunt

Jesse Hunt is a senior who recently had double-doubles in both games during the 2K Empire Classic Tournament.  He is currently averaging 14.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season.

Guard Jacob Davison

Jacob Davison is a redshirt sophomore who missed EWU’s first two games in 2018-19 because of an injury, but returned to play versus Green Bay and UMKC on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.  He is currently averaging 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this season.

Guard Ty Gibson
 
Ty Gibson is a senior and team co-captain who in his 97-game career (38 as a starter), has averaged 17.4 minutes, 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and has 82 assists and 38 steals.  He is currently averaging 9.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season.

PREVIEW

The Washington Huskies came into the start of their regular season returning all five starters from last season, and that experience will prove to be the driving force to their success this season. Last week, the Huskies lost a tough 68-66 matchup with the Minnesota Gophers in the finale of the Vancouver Showcase Tournament.  “The ball stopped. We didn’t get a lot of flow, didn’t get a lot of movement,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said of the offensive issues late. “They were killing us inside and then they were just beating us down court later in the game. We still had the one-point lead. … We’ve got to learn from it and move forward.”  The night belonged to senior forward Noah Dickerson, who was unstoppable and finished with 28 points and 7 rebounds.  The Huskies are looking to rebound with a win in front of the home crowd, and regain momentum for the season ahead.  

On the other side, Eastern Washington first-year head coach Shantay Legans is the 18th coach in Eastern Washington history, and has made history of his own. His 20 wins last season, are the most by a first-year Eastern coach in EWU’s NCAA Division I era.  Last game, the Eagles pulled out a close game in an 87-80 overtime win against the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  Senior forward Jesse Hunt’s heroics saved the day for EWU, which made 5-of-6 shots in the overtime period compared to 3-of-7 for UMKC.  “Our team wasn’t hanging their heads. I give them all the credit in the world because they had to go out there and make those plays. They showed character and made a key shot.”  Legans said.  The Eagles are looking to find themselves and a win against the Huskies would provide some much-needed confidence for the season.

ESPN MATCHUP PREDICTOR

HUSKY NOTES

• Over the three Vancouver Showcase games, senior Noah Dickerson nearly averaged a 20/10 double double as he averaged 21.0 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 51.4 percent from the field … additionally sophomore Jaylen Nowell averaged 22.7 points on 61.5 percent shooting.

Dickerson posted back-to-back 20 point outings against Texas A&M (24) and Minnesota (28) … it is the third time in the senior’s career that he has had back-to-back 20 point games.

Dickerson posted his sixth career 20/10 double-double against Texas A&M leading the team with 24 points and 17 rebounds … his 11 offensive rebounds were a career high and most by a Husky since Jon Brockman had 12 on Jan. 8, 2009 against Stanford.

• Senior David Crisp moved to 1,120 career points passing assistant coach Will Conroy for 31st all time at UW, Conroy posted 1,113 points his career (2001-05).

• Senior Matisse Thybulle is averaging 2.6 blocks over the first six games … that’s up from 1.4 as a junior, 0.7 as a sophomore and 0.9 as a freshman … his career total of 119 blocks is fifth all-time at UW.

Thybulle is the only player in Division I averaging at least 2.6 blocks and 2.3 steals per game.

• Joining Thybulle in the block party is sophomore Hameir Wright who already has 14 this year in six outings … as a freshman Wright knocked away 36 blocks in 33 games.

• Following his 32 points against Santa Clara, Nowell became the fastest player in UW history to reach 600 career points … he now has 664 points in just 39 games played … NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas was next, as he reached 600 in 39 games.

Nowell once again leads the Huskies in scoring as he has not scored below 14 points in a game this season … he’s averaging 19.8 ppg over the first six outings after leading the team with 16.0 ppg a year ago … both him and Noah Dickerson have yet to score below 10 points this season.

• Sophomore Naz Carter has been providing a spark off the bench for the Huskies as he is averaging 8.3 points in 19.5 minutes per game.

• Matisse Thybulle is the first player in Pac-12 history since 1992-93 with the career stat line of at least 100 blocks (119), 200 assists (208), 200 steals (219) and 300 rebounds (322), via SportsReference.

Thybulle, UW’s career steals leader at 219, has now recorded at least one steal in 52-straight games.

Nowell has shot over 50 percent from the field in 18 of his 40 career games (45.0 percent) … Nowell is 44-of-74  (59.5%) this season and for his career is at 47.1% (247-of-524).

• UW has two 1,000 point scorers on the team with the potential to add a third as Matisse Thybulle is 54 points away. Only two rosters in UW history have had three 1,000 point scorers at the same time, 2008-09 (NCAA Round of 32) and 1998-99 (NCAA Round of 64). Dickerson currently has 1,274 career points which ranks 26th while Crisp has 1,120 career points which ranks 31st.

• Three Huskies are in the 100 games club now as seniors Thybulle and Crisp are at 105 career games while Dickerson is at 104 … additionally Thybulle has started in all 104 career games while Dominic Green is just two games away at 98.

Dickerson is 243 rebounds away from becoming only the 15th member of the Pac-12’s 1,000 career rebounds club. Dickerson, who has 757 boards in his career, grabbed 284 boards as a junior in 2017-18.

EAGLES NOTES

* Eastern is 1-14 all-time versus the Huskies, with near-upsets the last time the two teams have met. Eastern fell 79-69 last season for its 10th-straight loss to the Huskies, after having not played them since Dec. 14, 2014, when Eastern lost to Washington by an 81-77 score.
 
* In last year’s game, Eastern’s defensive effort was good enough to win, but 11 missed free throws and 40 percent shooting by the Eagles helped Washington survive for a 79-69 victory over EWU Nov. 12 at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle. Eastern began a monstrous 10-game road trip with a promising defensive effort, holding Washington to 41 percent shooting. The first half featured 11 lead changes and seven ties, but Washington pulled ahead late in the first half and held-off EWU in the second half. Eastern used a 9-3 run – including a pair of baskets by Luka Vulikic – to take its biggest lead of the game with 6:12 left in the first half. But Washington followed with a 16-4 run to take the lead for good, and then hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead 40-34 at halftime. The Eagles closed the margin to four on a 3-pointer by Ty Gibson with 9:54 to play, but Washington went on a 10-3 run and led by double digits much of the remainder of the half. The Huskies didn’t score for a more than five-minute stretch in the second half, but the Eagles couldn’t capitalize. Washington missed five-straight field goals in that stretch, but the Eagles missed four shots of their own and didn’t make a field goal for 5:06. Bogdan Bliznyukscored 20 points to lead the Eagles, making 6-of-11 shots from the field and 6-of-7 free throws, and also had eight rebounds and three assists. Vulikic had his second-straight game scoring in double figures, finishing with 10. Gibson made three of EWU’s eight 3-pointers and finished with nine points.
 
* In EWU’s 2014 game against Washington, the Eagles nearly pulled off the upset, with Tyler Harvey, Drew Brandon and Venky Jois combining for 50 of EWU’s points. The Eagles led for 34:50 of the game before the No. 17 Huskies rallied down the stretch.
 
* Since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, EWU is now 3-43 against the Pac-12 Conference, having gone 1-2 versus the league in the 2017-18 season and 0-1 this year thus far. Eastern snapped its 21-game losing streak versus the Pac-12 with a 67-61 victory at Stanford on Nov. 14, 2017. Entering this year, the only current member of the Pac-12 Eastern has never played is Arizona State. A year ago, Eastern fell to Washington 79-69 on Nov. 12, 2017 and Utah 85-69 on Nov. 24, 2017. Coupled with an 11-55 record versus Washington State, 1-14 mark versus Washington and a 1-16 record against other current members of the Pac-12, the Eagles have a 13-85 record all-time against that league.
 
* Eastern’s 62-58 win at Washington in the 2002-03 season on Dec. 14, 2002, snapped a five-game losing streak versus Pac-12 Conference opponents dating back to Eastern’s 83-82 overtime win versus Washington State on Dec. 22, 1997, in Kennewick, Wash. That victory over WSU was Eastern’s first-ever win over a Pacific 8 or Pacific 10 Conference opponent since the inception of the conference in 1968. It was also Eastern’s first win over Washington State since Dec. 1, 1952, when the Eagles pulled out a 72-71 overtime road win, which is EWU’s last win in Pullman in the series. The Cougars had led the all-time series 50-10 and had won 17-straight games over the Eagles prior to that EWU victory in 1997.
 
* Eastern is now 15-10 all-time against Seattle in a series that has included at least one game annually since 2009. In the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, the Eagles and Redhawks played each other twice both seasons. In 2016-17, a pair of tightly-contested games both went to double overtime, with Eastern winning in Seattle 93-88 after being victorious in Cheney 80-76. In the 2015-16 season, Eastern won at home 76-70 and then five days later fell in Seattle by a 58-56 score. Eastern won in the 2014-15 season in Seattle 87-75, and the year before triumphed in Cheney 82-75.
 
* Before renewing their rivalry in 2009, the last meeting came on Nov. 22, 1985, when Eastern won 83-64 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Until 2009, that was the lone game played between the two schools since EWU moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. The first four meetings came in the 1945-46 season, and Eastern won all four of those games, as well as a pair the following season. A split followed in 1948-49, and Seattle swept a pair in the 1951-52 season. Seattle was in NCAA Division I from 1944-1980, with such star players as Elgin Baylor, John O’Brien, Clint Richardson and Frank Oleynick on its rosters. Baylor, in fact, led Seattle to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament where it lost 84-72 to Kentucky. Formerly known as the Chieftains, from 1980-2002 they were affiliated with NAIA and from 2002-2007 were a member of NCAA Division II.
 
* In last year’s meeting, Seattle made 51 percent of its shots while EWU struggled to a 39-percent afternoon in an 84-65 loss to the Redhawks on Dec. 3 at KeyArena in Seattle. The Redhawks used a 20-6 run to lead by 13 at halftime, then scored 23 of the first 29 points to start the second half to build a 32-point lead. At one point in the second half, the Redhawks were shooting at a 26-of-43 clip (60 percent), and at the same time the Eagles were just 13-of-41 (32 percent). Eastern ended the game with a 26-13 run to cut the lead to the final margin of 19, but the damage was done much earlier as the Redhawks led the entire game and by no less than 19 in the final 14 minutes. Sophomore Ty Gibson scored all 10 of his points in the second half, making 3-of-6 from the field and 2-of-5 from the 3-point stripe. Senior Bogdan Bliznyuk was held to four points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field. He went into the game averaging 15.6 points on the season. Gibson scored all eight Eagle points during an 8-0 run in the second half, including both of his 3-pointers in the game. The Eagles held Seattle scoreless for nearly three minutes, including no field goals for a 5:36 stretch.
 
* On Nov. 22, 2017, Eastern made its last four 3-pointers in the second overtime and beat Seattle 80-76 at Reese Court to win the title in the Legends Classic sub-regional round in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles had made just eight of 30 3-point shots until Bogdan Bliznyuk, Sir Washington, Felix Von Hofe and Cody Benzel all hit treys to turn a 70-65 deficit into a 77-73 lead with 25 seconds to play. Before that, Benzel and Bliznyuk hit triples – both with four seconds on the clock — to force the game into overtime and double-overtime. Tournament MVP Jacob Wiley led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots, five assists and a pair of steals in the victory. Benzel and Von Hofe each has 17, and freshman Luka Vulikicadded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Benzel made the second start of his career and finished with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the 3-point arc. Von Hofe finished with 17 points with a trio of 3-pointers and 6-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. The game featured 14 lead changes and 11 ties, all in the second half and overtime. The Eagles finished with 10 blocked shots.
 
* In the rematch on Dec. 4, 2017, EWU rallied from a 14-point deficit with 10 minutes left to force overtime, then prevailed 93-88 in another double-overtime non-conference victory over Seattle at KeyArena in Seattle, Wash. Six 3-pointers in the final eight minutes of regulation helped send the game into overtime, including a trey with 24 seconds remaining by Felix Von Hofe, who finished with 19 points. After the Redhawks hit a 3-pointer to send the game into a second extra period, Eastern used a 9-0 run and 11-of-12 free throws in the final 1:54. Bogdan Bliznyuk had a double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds, Cody Benzel was also in double figures with 12 and senior Jacob Wiley had a great all-around game with 10 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots, five assists and a pair of steals. The Redhawks led 50-36 with 10:05 to play when Eastern hit six 3-pointers in the final eight minutes of regulation. With 24 seconds to play, Von Hofe made a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, and Eastern survived a 1-of-19 shooting stretch to finish at 42 percent for the game with 11 3-pointers.
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