Washington (16-4) vs. USC (12-8)
Wednesday, January 30th @ 8:00 PM PST
Alaska Airlines Arena (Seattle, Washington)
Line: Washington –7.0
Radio: 1000AM KOMO/97.7 FM
KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON
Guard – David Crisp
Guard – Matisse Thybulle
Guard – Jaylen Nowell
KEY PLAYERS: USC
Forward – Bennie Boatwright
The Washington Huskies Basketball team enters this contest with some big momentum after a convincing 79-69 road win over the Oregon State Beavers. The USC Trojans are coming off a hard-fought 69-67 home win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Huskies will be looking for an 8-0 conference start and remain in first place in the Pac-12 standings. With a win over the Trojans tonight, the Huskies would extend their current winning streak to 10 games, dating back to December 21st.
ESPN MATCHUP PREDICTOR
• Washington’s 7-0 start in Pac-12 play is its best since the 1952-53 season when UW started 14-0.
• In UW’s nine-game winning streak, the Huskies have not allowed a team to score more than 70 points … additionally opponents are shooting 28.4 from 3 and being held to 60.9 points.
• Four of UW’s seven Pac-12 wins have been by 16 points or more … the last time UW had that many wins with at least a 16-point margin was the 2011-12 season.
• UW has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 5 of its 7 Pac-12 games including four of the last five and is shooting 51.4 percent from the field overall in those 7 outings, which leads the Pac-12.
• UW is holding its first 20 opponents to just 64.8 points per game, which leads the Pac-12 and is 32nd nationally … 16 teams have been held to 70 points or less and UW has won 15 of those games.
• The Huskies scoring margin in league action of +13.0 leads the conference by almost eight points as ASU is second at a +5.7 margin.
• UW dished out a season-high 18 assists on 22 made FGs at Oregon, its highest assist-to-made basket ratio of the season.
• Over the last two seasons under Mike Hopkins, when senior Dominic Green hits at least 2 from 3-point range, the Dawgs are 16-2 … they are 8-1 this year when Green knocks in at least 2 from distance … when he hits 3 from behind the arc UW is 10-0 over the last two seasons.
• Thybulle is one of 15 players nationally named to the watchlist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year … he is the only player nationally to average 2.9 steals and 2.2 blocks.
• Eight of sophomore Naz Carter’s career 16 10+scoring efforts have come in the last 19 games.
• Carter has surpassed his season totals from 17-18 in points, rebounds and upped his FG and FT percentage.
• Carter is averaging 10.6 points in Pac-12 play and is shooting 66.0 percent from the field in those outings (31-47) … he averaged just 4.7ppg in league action last year.
• Nowell has seven 20-point scoring efforts this season, and four in the last seven games … he now has 17 on his career … Nowell is sixth in the league in scoring averaging 17.0 ppg.
• Nowell is one of three players on the initial Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award watch list to be shooting over 50 percent (51.8), averaging over five rebounds (5.2) and 3 assists (3.3) and scoring at least 16 points a night (17.0), joining Hofstra’s Justin Wright-Foreman and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver.
• Nowell has shot at least 50 percent from the field in 27 of his 54 career games (50.0 percent) … in those 27 games, UW has a 22-5 record.
• UW has had six different players lead the team in scoring through 20 games in David Crisp (1), Noah Dickerson (5), Jaylen Nowell (9), Dominic Green (2), Naz Carter (3) and Matisse Thybulle (2).
• Crisp has had a standout start in Pac-12 play, averaging 15.7 points, on 48.0 percent shooting from the field (36-of-75), a Pac-12 leading 52.5 percent from 3 (21-of-40) and dishing out 2.4 assists.
• Nowell has seen an uptick in not just his scoring production (17.0 ppg) but in his assists as well as he currently leads the team with 66 (3.3 per game) which is up from an average of 2.7 a year ago.
• Thybulle is the only player in Division I averaging at least 2.2 blocks and 2.7 steals per game.
– BREAKING DOWN WASHINGTON – Washington is coming off a road sweep, winning 79-69 at Oregon State on Jan. 26 and 61-56 at Oregon on Jan. 24. Washington has won nine consecutive games and is 10-0 at home this season, the only Pac-12 team without a home loss. Sophomore Jaylen Nowell leads the Huskies in scoring with a 17.0 average. USC lost at home 88-81 in its only meeting against Washington last season. The all-time series is tied 72-all (2 USC wins vacated due to NCAA penalty, original record 74-72).
– BOATWRIGHT STICKS A FORK IN THE SUN DEVILS – Bennie Boatwright nailed a three-pointer with 11.1 seconds remaining to propel USC to a 69-67 win over Arizona State on Jan. 26. USC had led 62-57 with 6:30 remaining, when ASU’s Remy Martin went on a personal 8-0 run, his second straight three-pointer giving the Sun Devils a 65-62 lead. Nick Rakocevic then made a layup and a pair of free throws to give USC a 66-65 lead with 1:46 remaining. ASU’s Luguentz Dort hit a pair of free throws with 1:35 left to give the Sun Devils the lead and after a pair of empty possesions for both teams, the stage was set for Boatwright’s heroics. USC trailed 38-35 at halftime, but came out on a 17-6 run after halftime to open up its biggest lead of the game at 52-44 with 13:30 remaining. USC held ASU to 26.7 percent shooting in the second half and 30.8 percent overall. ASU outrebounded USC 49-35. Boatwright led USC with 17 points and Rakocevic added 15 points and 9 rebounds. Shaqquan Aaron kept the Trojans close in the first half by going 3-for-3 from three-point range and scoring 11 of his 13 points in the game.
– WASHINGTON STATE ON DECK – USC’s next game will be at Washington State (8-12, 1-6) on Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. WSU has lost 9 of its last 10 games and will host UCLA on Jan. 30 before facing USC. WSU has an 8-2 record at home this season. Senior forward Robert Franks leads the Cougars in scoring (21.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). USC has won its last five games against WSU and has won three straight in Pullman, Wash. USC leads the all-time series with Washington State 74-48.
– RAKOCEVIC CONTINUES HIS ROLL – USC junior forward Nick Rakocevic matched a career high with 27 points and added 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season vs. Arizona on Jan. 24 and followed it up with 15 points and 9 rebounds vs. Arizona State on Jan. 26. He has scored at least 15 points in 12 games and has at least 8 rebounds in 14 games. Rakocevic is averaging 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. He currently ranks among the Pac-12’s top 10 in five categories: rebounds (2nd), blocked shots (4th), field goal percentage (9th), offensive rebounds (2nd) and defensive rebounds (3rd) and ranks 11th in scoring average.
– THE “BOAT” SETTING SAIL – USC senior forward Bennie Boatwright has averaged 19.2 points (192 total), 7.5 rebounds (75 total) and 2.9 assists (29 total) in the last 10 games. He has also made 49.6 percent of his shots in those games (68-for-137). Boatwright scored a career-best 37 points on 14 of 24 shooting (4 of 9 from 3-point range) at Oregon St. on Jan. 10. His 37 points scored were tied for the 11th best all-time in a game by a USC player and the most since 2008. His 14 FGs also tied him for the 10th-most in a game in school history, last done by Brian Scalabrine in 2000. He is 2nd among Pac-12 players with a 20.1 scoring average in Pac-12 play.
– MAKING ADJUSTMENTS – USC has outscored the opposition in the second half in 16 of its first 20 games. USC has outscored its opponents 840-754 in the second half. USC has made 49.8 percent of its shots in the second half (305-for-612), including 41.5 pecent from three-point range (86-for-207).
– GETTING A LITTLE DEFENSIVE AT HOME – USC held its three opponents on the just concluded homestand (UCLA, Arizona & ASU) to 33.2 percent shooting (68-for-205) and 63.7 ppg.
THE MAGIC MARKER – With the 69-67 win over Arizona State on Jan. 26, USC has now won 40 consecutive games in which it allows 70 points or less.
– DISTRIBUTING THE ROCK – USC has averaged 19.9 assists in its wins and 11.5 assists in its losses. USC leads Pac-12 teams with 331 assists. Derryck Thornton leads USC and is second in the conference with 96 assists. USC’s 1.4 assist to turnover ratio is tops in the Pac-12. USC is 11-0 this season when it has 16 or more assists.
– BOATWRIGHT KEEPS RISING UP THE USC SCORING CHARTS – Senior Bennie Boatwright missed the first two games of the season while still coming back from offseason knee surgery, but has averaged a team-leading 17.0 points per game (5th in Pac-12) since his return. He scored 14 points vs. Texas Tech on Nov. 19 to give him 1,008 career points. He now has scored 1,284 career points which ties him for 20th on USC’s all-time scoring list with his former roommate Chimezie Metu (20th, 1,284) and 23 behind Taj Gibson (19th, 1,307). Boatwright has averaged 13.8 points (1,284) in 93 career games played, despite being slowed by injuries. Boatwright averaged 13.6 points in 23 games last season, first being slowed by a foot injury and then having his season end with a knee injury. He led USC to the 2017 Diamond Head Classic title by scoring a then career-high 33 points vs. New Mexico State on Dec. 25, making a career-best six three-point baskets. Boatwright has also made 194 career three-point baskets, 9 behind Desmon Farmer (203) for fourth on USC’s all-time list.