10:30 PM ET, January 20, 2011
Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA
It's only January, but Washington and Arizona both understand the importance of the schools' first meeting of the season.The No. 20 Huskies look for a fourth straight home victory over the Wildcats on Thursday night in a matchup of the Pac-10's top two teams.Washington (13-4, 5-1) enters this contest with a one-half game conference lead over Arizona. The schools have alternated wins and losses over the last six meetings with each winning at home, a trend that may continue with the Huskies averaging 97.8 points while going 9-0 in Seattle this season."We are going to have to be at our best, and this trip will prove a lot to do with us being able to do that," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.Arizona (15-3, 4-1) has dropped three in a row at Washington but those games have been decided by an average margin of 6.7 points.There is potential for plenty of points to be scored in this matchup of the Pac-10's two top offensive teams.One of the nation's top-scoring squads, Washington averages a league-high 87.1 points with Arizona second at 77.7 per contest.The Wildcats lead the conference shooting 48.7 percent while the Huskies are second at 48.6. Washington's 40.4 percent shooting from 3-point range leads the league with Arizona right behind at 38.9.They also boast two of the Pac-10's top three scorers in Arizona's Derrick Williams and Washington's Isaiah Thomas.Williams is second in the league averaging 19.7 points. The sophomore forward matched a career high with 31 points for the second time in three games as the Wildcats won their third straight, an 80-69 win over rival Arizona State on Saturday.Williams is the only Arizona player averaging double figures in points."From day one his freshman year, Derrick has been working hard, in the spring, summer and fall, and it's easy to see how strong he is and why he is so successful," Miller said.Williams, however, totaled 15 points in two meetings with the Huskies last season. He had three in just eight minutes before fouling out of an 81-75 loss at Washington on Feb. 4.Though Thomas was held to seven points on 3-of-10 shooting in that contest, he's third in the league averaging 16.5 points. The junior guard set season highs with 27 points and 13 assists as the Huskies bounced back from a 58-56 loss at Stanford last Thursday to beat California 92-71 three days later."To me, everybody in college basketball should be talking about Isaiah Thomas," Miller told Washington's official athletics website. "He deserves to be put in the category of the nation's best point guards."Thomas, who averages a team-high and career-best 5.4 assists, has needed to expand his game since point guard Abdul Gaddy suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month."I've said all along: He's a complete guard," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.Justin Holiday scored 23 points and Matthew Bryan-Amaning added 22 with 11 rebounds against Cal. However, the senior forwards have combined to score just 35 career points against the Wildcats.Arizona, which received votes in this week's AP poll, has dropped three straight road games against Top 25 opponents since a 65-55 win at then-No. 17 Washington State on Feb. 23, 2008.
|Avg Points Allowed||67.5||70.4|