Washington vs. Sacramento State Game Preview

Washington (7-4) vs. Sacramento State (6-2)

Friday, December 21st @ 6:00 PM PST

Alaska Airlines Arena (Seattle, Washington)

Line: Washington –15.5

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: 1000AM KOMO/97.7 FM



Forward – Noah Dickerson

Noah Dickerson returns for his senior season and is currently averaging 15.5 points and 7.2 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 8.5 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 18.0 points and 3.1 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.


Guard Marcus Graves

Marcus Graves is a senior who did not play last year after undergoing back surgery…off to a big start, averaging 15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 6.0 apg and 2.3 spg…ranks among Big Sky’s top 10 players in assists (1st), steals (1st), minutes (3rd), scoring (7th) and rebounding (10th)…has scored at least 14 pts in four straight.

Center Joshua Patton

Joshua Patton is a junior who is the only Hornet to score in double figures in all eight games…has at least 15 pts four of the last five…among Big Sky leaders, he is 1st in FG% (.657), 3rd in blocks (1.8 bpg) 9th in scoring (14.6 ppg) and 9th in rebounding (6.4 rpg)… averaging 7.0 trips to the free throw line per game.

Forward Ethan Esposito
Ethan Esposito is a sophomore who is from Naples, Italy and is averaging 11.6 points per game on 53% (34-64) shooting from the field, 3-for-7 from the 3-point line and 79% (22-28) at the free throw line.  He is averaging a ridiculous 27.4 points and 15.9 rebounds per 40 minutes.


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. This past week, the Huskies went on the road and lost 73-61 to the #13 Virginia Tech Hokies at the Army Reserve Boardwalk Classic.  “This was a great experience for us, we made the adjustments that we needed to make, but we can’t wait 20 minutes to figure that out.”  Washington head coach Mike Hopkins said.  Senior guard Matisse Thybulle was stellar and led the Huskies with 16 points while making 5 three-pointers.  The Huskies will be looking to finish strong in their non-conference schedule with a home victory and get back on track.

On the other side, Sacramento State is off to a great start to their season so far.  The Hokies currently own an 6-2 record.  Recently, Sacramento State won at home against Westcliff 89-40, with seven different Hornets scoring at least one three-pointer.  Under head coach Brian Katz, the Hornets defeated three Pac-12 Conference schools over a six-year span, which included road wins at Arizona State (2015), Utah (2012) and Oregon State (2009). The Hornets had gone 56 years without a win over a Pac- 10/12 school prior to the 65-63 win at Oregon State.  The Hornets will be looking to measure themselves against a power five conference opponent in the Washington Huskies.




• Washington is averaging four double-digit scorers over its last two games in Nowell (14.0), Crisp (11.5), Thybulle (11.0) and Dickerson (10.0).

Thybulle has reached double-figure scoring in three of his last four outings and has made 11 from long distance in those outings … he had only made five 3-pointers in the first seven games of the season.

• Based on opponents’ win percentage through Dec. 18 games, UW has faced the second-most difficult schedule so far this season as its foes have a cumulative .732 (93-34) win percentage, trailing only No. 1 Kansas (.779).

• Sophomore Naz Carter nearly had his first career double-double against No. 13 Virginia Tech as he posted 11 points and a career-best nine rebounds.

• UW has 995 wins inside Alaska Airlines Arena which is the most by a Division I school in its current arena.

Thybulle became the 41st member of the UW 1,000 career point club after he scored 16 against No. 13 Virginia Tech, giving him 1,009… he joins Dickerson (1,336) and Crisp (1,172) as current players to have scored 1K … additionally he makes Washington one of four schools nationally to boast three current players on its roster to have 1,000 career points (Hartford, Lipscomb and Nevada – all of Nevada’s players with 1K are transfers).

Nowell, Green and Carter’s rebounding numbers have been up over the last two outings as Nowell is averaging 7, up from 4.6 on the season, Green is at 6, up from 3.5 on the year and Carter is at 5, up from 3.1 overall.

Nowell became the first Husky underclassman to earn multiple Pac-12 Player of the Week Awards as he picked up his second of the season on Dec. 10 after averaging 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists against No. 1 Gonzaga and Seattle U.

Dickerson is four rebounds away from entering UW’s top 10 career rebounding chart as he has 788 … 10th is James Edwards (1974-77, 792) … Dickerson would be the first UW player to enter the top 10 since Jon Brockman set the UW record in 2006-09 with 1,283.

• Senior Matisse Thybulle is averaging 2.1 blocks over the first 11 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 127 blocks is fifth all-time at UW.

Thybulle is the only player in Division I averaging at least 2.1 blocks and 2.8 steals per game … his 2.8 steals per game also rank fifth nationally.

• Joining Thybulle in the block party is sophomore Hameir Wright who already has 18 this year in 11 outings … as a freshman Wright knocked away 36 blocks in 33 games.

Nowell is shooting 54.4 percent from the field this season up from 45.1 a year ago … out of the 20 candidates for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year award, Nowell’s shooting percentage is the best by just over four percent.

Nowell has shot over 50 percent from the field in 21 of his 45 career games (46.6 percent) … Nowell is 74-of-136 (54.4%) this season and for his career is at 47.3% (277-of-586).

Nowell once again leads the Huskies in scoring as he has only scored below 14 points in two games this season … he’s averaging 18.0 ppg over the first 11 games after leading the team with 16.0 ppg a year ago.

Thybulle, UW’s career steals leader at 236, has now recorded at least one steal in 57-straight games.


• Winners of three of the last four games, Sacramento State (6-2) will play its final non-conference game of the season on Friday evening at Washington (7-4). Tip-off at Alaska Airlines Arena is set for 6:05 p.m.

• Friday night will mark the Hornets’ first game in eight days.

• The Hornets’ 6-2 record marks just the second time the team has won six of its first eight games in the Div. I era (1991-pres.). The 2015-16 team also began the year 6-2. In fact, only five Hornet teams in school history (1948-pres.) have started the year with a 6-2 record, including the 1988-89, 1987-88 and 1985-86 squads.

• No Hornet squad has ever began a season 8-0 or 7-1.

• Should the Hornets win on Friday night, the team would improve to 7-2 for just the second time in school history. The only team to accomplish the feat was the 1987-88 squad which is the last Hornet team to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Sacramento State was a Div. II program at that time.

• Regardless of Friday’s outcome, the Hornets will enter the 20-game Big Sky schedule with their best non-conference winning percentage since joining the league in 1996.

• The Hornets are just 4-39 all-time against the Pac-12’s current affiliates, and three of those wins have come since 2009.

• Sacramento State is 1-2 on the road this season, which includes an 88-68 win at Cal State Northridge on Dec. 1.

• Washington, which was selected third in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, is coming off a 73-61 loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

• The Huskies are 5-0 at home this season, which includes wins over UC Santa Barbara, Eastern Washington, Seattle, San Diego and Western Kentucky.

• The Hornets and Huskies have played just twice, and Washington won both of those meetings in Seattle. The two teams have never faced each other in Sacramento. The last meeting was an 83-74 Washington win on Nov. 19, 2006.

• In that game, Washington was ranked 17th in the nation at the time, and the Hornets led by 13 points (29-16) midway through the first half. However, the Huskies closed the first half on a 32-9 run and cruised from there. Future NBA player Spencer Hawes had 14 points (7-for-7 shooting) and six blocks. Box score is on page 10 of the notes.