Husky Men take on cellar-dwelling Cougs

Unlike the Apple Cup on the gridiron when the Huskies and Cougars were fighting for a shot at the Pac-10 title, the first meeting on the hardcourt this year pits the two teams at the bottom of the conference standings.

The Husky men are in Pullman this evening to take on the Washington State Cougars at Friel Court at 7:00 p.m. The Huskies are coming off of a split last week after they upset No. 19 Oregon 97-92 on Thursday, and then lost to the Oregon State Beavers 68-53 on Saturday.

As if the Cougars needed any added incentive to beat their cross-state rival, they are still searching for their first win of the Pac-10 season. The Cougars are amidst a twelve-game losing streak, with an overall record of 4-14 and 0-10 in the conference. Their last victory came over Texas-Pan American back on December 7, 2001.

These two teams split the series last season, with each team winning on their home court. The Cougars topped the Huskies in their last meeting on March 3, 2001 to the tune of 79-61. Two returning players for the Cougars had double-doubles in that game. Guard Marcus Moore scored 18 points with 10 rebounds and Center J Locklier scored 16 points to go along with 12 rebounds. But Washington has owned the series as of late, winning eight of the last 10 games against Wazzu.

Moore is the player to keep close tabs on for the Husky defense. The 6'6 guard from Inglewood, CA leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.3 points, leads the Pac-10 in steals with 2.44 per game and is second on the conference in assists, averaging 5.33 per game. Moore is coming off of a career-high 35-point performance in a 94-86 loss to the Ducks on Saturday.

Husky sophomore forward Doug Wrenn continues to pour in the points for the Dawgs. He has been the team's leading scorer in each of the past seven games, averaging 23.3 points during that stretch and 18.4 for the season. Curtis Allen is the only other Husky to average scoring in double figures, with an average of 12.5 points for the season. Allen is shooting an amazing 88.6% from the charity stripe, converting 78 of his 88 attempts. That percentage is the second highest in the Pac-10 this year.

One category that the Huskies do lead the conference in is blocked shots. They have 101 rejects already this season, with an average of 5.05 blocks per game. Senior center David Dixon owns 45 of those blocks, which also leads the Pac-10 in the individual category.

Interesting match-ups will be the 6'8 Wrenn going against the 6'6 Senior Guard (and Wide Receiver) Mike Bush. Bush's scoring is down from last season, when he led the Cougars in that department. Wrenn and Bush, who have known each other since high school, are critical to their team's success; both of these players are very athletic and can get it done on both ends of the court.

Another critical match-up will be how the Husky ball handlers deal with the pressure on the ball from Moore. With the Husky point guards (Allen and Will Conroy) accounting for 113 turnovers between them, it could be trouble when they go up against an accomplished ball-thief like Moore.

Washington continues to play one of the must brutal schedules in the country. Their schedule was rated the nations' third toughest in the Sagarin rankings as published on January 27 by USA Today. Eight of the 12 losses suffered by the Dawgs came against teams that have been ranked in the top 25, and four of them were by six points or less.
  • Probable Starters:
  • WASHINGTON        Ht.   Yr.   ppg.
    F Doug Wrenn      6-8   So.   18.4
    F Grant Leep      6-7   Sr.    7.9
    C David Dixon     6-11  Sr.    7.8
    G Curtis Allen    6-0   So.   12.5
    G C.J. Massingale 6-4   So.    4.6
    WASH STATE        Ht.   Yr.    ppg.
    F Shami Gill      6-7   Fr.    3.6
    C J Locklier      6-9   Sr.   12.5
    G Marcus Moore    6-6   So.   15.3
    G Jerry McNair    6-2   Jr.   11.3
    G Mike Bush       6-6   Sr.   10.8
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