Oregon St. (11-4, 2-1) at Washington (11-4, 0-3) / Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA / 6 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. hits the road this week for the Washington swing, with the first stop tonight at "Hec Edmundson Pavilion", known of late as Alaska Airlines Arena, in Seattle, to take on Washington.
Both teams come in with 11-4 records, but on decidedly different trajectories.
The Huskies have lost 4 in a row after an 11-0 start, with an 80-77 setback on their own floor against Washington St. last Saturday their latest loss. All the losses have been winnable, with the losses by 5, 6, and then 8 points in overtime, before narrowly losing the Apple Cup contest to the Cougs.
The Beavers have won 3 of their last 4 games, including a 58-56 upset of then 7th ranked Arizona last Sunday night to complete a home sweep of the desert schools. Langston Morris-Walker scored the first and last baskets of the game for Oregon St., to bookend his team high 12 points nicely, and Gary Payton II, the Beavers' leading scorer, just missed a double-double, with 10 points and 9 rebounds, as well as 3 assists, 2 steals, and a blocked shot.
As a result, Oregon St. sits only a game behind Pac-12 leading #8 Utah, while Washington is tied with Arizona St. for last place in the conference.
It's remains to be seen if Oregon St. can take their act on the road though, with 10 of their wins coming in their 10 games in Gill Coliseum. A 65-58 overtime win at Portland in early December is the only success the Beavers have had on the road so far this season.
Furthermore, Oregon St. has lost 11 straight in Seattle, and 104 times in the 295 game history of the 3rd most played series in NCAA history (behind only the Civil War and Oregon-Washington), which Washington leads 157-138. Husky coach Lorenzo Romar is 19-7 in his career against the Beavers.
But new Oregon St. coach Wayne Tinkle has no familiarity with any of that, and would like nothing more than to prove his formula that has been perfect at Gill to be portable.
Washington will be led by Nigel Williams-Goss, an Oregon native who averages 14.7 points and 6.7 assists, both Husky team highs, and just missed his career high, with 30 points against Washington St.
That career high came last year when Oregon St. last visited Seattle, when he poured in 32 points to lead the Huskies to an 87-81 win.
The Beavers were able to hold him to only 14 points in the rematch in Corvallis, but all 5 of the Husky starters were in double digits, and it led to an 86-62 blowout of the Beavers. The departed C.J. Wilcox did most of the damage, with 23 points, but Andrew Andrews, from Portland, and another instate player that escaped former coach Craig Robinson's recruiting, added 15.
Andrews is Washington's second leading scorer this season behind Williams-Goss, averaging 11.9 points per game. (Great fence building there, Craig!)
Both teams will be beginning stints without key players, as Oregon St.'s Victor Robbins, one of Coach Wayne Tinkle's best players off the bench, is beginning a 10 game suspension for a violation of some Athletic Department Policy. Oregon St.'s failure to disclose this decision made prior to the trip until shortly before game time was disappointingly disingenuous, and amateurish.
Washington's Jernard Jarreau will also be out for several games, though Coach Lorenzo Romar won't know the exact duration of Jarreau's absence, caused by a sprained ACL. Major surgery isn't required, but an arthroscopic procedure and a couple weeks of rest is.