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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Washington to present a threat as big as WSU

    Arizona forward Chase Budinger squeezes betweeen two Cougar defenders in last nights 76-64 win over No.6 Washington State in McKale Center. The Wildcats take on Washington tomorrow at home at 1 p.m.
    Arizona forward Chase Budinger squeezes betweeen two Cougar defenders in last night’s 76-64 win over No.6 Washington State in McKale Center. The Wildcats take on Washington tomorrow at home at 1 p.m.

    When the question was thrown out last night as to why tomorrow’s 1 p.m. date with Washington in McKale Center is so important, three Arizona men’s basketball players turned from the corner of the locker room where their lockers stand side by side.

    “”It’s huge, man,”” forward Fendi Onobun said.

    “”It’s just big,”” guard David Bagga added.

    Forward Jordan Hill stood in the middle. He looked to his teammates at either side and thought for a moment.

    “”We won a big game (against No. 6 Washington State last night) so if we come out on Saturday and lose, people will just think we’re not real,”” Hill said. “”Like it was just a fluke. It’s kind of bigger than the Washington State game.””

    The Wildcats (13-6, 3-3 Pacific 10 Conference) and the Huskies (12-7, 3-3 Pac-10) are each coming off wins over nationally-ranked teams, after Washington beat No. 24 ASU 72-61 last night in Tempe. It marks the third win in a row for the Huskies after sweeping the Oregon schools by a combined 17 points last weekend.

    “”I think we’ve really started to build some momentum,”” Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said earlier in the week. “”I think even before the Oregon schools we started to play better and the wins have reflected that.””

    The Huskies are led by 6-foot-7 forward Jon Brockman, who averaged a team-best 18.7 points per game going into Thursday – fourth in the Pac-10, just behind Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless. Brockman, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, pulled down 11.6 rebounds per game entering yesterday, the second-best in the nation behind Kansas State forward Michael Beasley (12.6).

    Brockman had 21 points and 16 rebounds last night.

    “”We just have to box him out and try to keep him off the boards,”” said Hill, Arizona’s leading rebounder, who averages eight boards per game. “”When the shots are up, we gotta look for him and make sure the ball doesn’t land in his hands.””

    Though they averaged nearly 16 shots per game from 3-point land entering yesterday – making just six in each contest – the Huskies tend to get streaky at times from beyond the arc, thanks in large part to guard Ryan Appleby, the only other player on the team besides Brockman to average double digits in scoring (10.2 ppg).

    Appleby has netted more 3s in the past three games (eight) than he did in the previous nine games (seven). But the game before that, in a win against Portland State, he made seven shots from beyond the arc.

    “”When he’s on, it makes us a different team,”” Romar said. “”I think emotionally and psychologically it gives us a lift. When he’s hitting, you can see everybody get pretty pumped up and it helps all the way around.””

    Despite being hot off of a big win, the Huskies’ record away from Bank of America Arena in Seattle bodes well for the Wildcats, as they’re 2-5 away from home.

    “”It’s very crucial,”” McClellan said of tomorrow’s matinee. “”We have to take care of our home court. It’s a must … It’s going to be tough. I’m not going to say it’s going to be easy.

    “”We can celebrate after, uh, if we get a win Saturday,”” McClellan said.

    And 1

    UA forward Bret Brielmaier did not play last night because of a re-injured separated shoulder, missing back-to-back games for the first time this season. O’Neill said he is questionable for tomorrow’s game.



    BREAKDOWN
    Tale of the tape: Washington at Arizona

    Guards
    Advantage: Arizona
    The Huskies have some quality guards like sharpshooter Ryan Appleby, but no real standouts.

    Forwards/Center
    Advantage: Arizona
    Jon Brockman is an absolute beast, averaging 18.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, but he doesn’t have much help up front.

    Intangibles
    Advantage: Arizona
    Despite winning last night at No. 24 ASU, the Huskies have won only two of seven games played outside of Seattle.

    Prediction
    In a conference where every game means so much, the Wildcats cannot afford a slip up against a team they’re better than. These aren’t your older brother’s Huskies who Arizona struggled with, so expect a good afternoon for the Wildcats, particularly after last night’s big upset of No. 6 Washington State.
    Arizona 74, Washington 63

    -compiled by Michael Schwartz


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