Utah (8-9) at Washington (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Utah 7-4. Washington 7-3. Away Record: Utah 1-5, Washington 4-1. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, Washington 1-1. Conference Record: Utah 0-5, Washington 4-0. Series Record: Utah leads, 7-5.
GAMES NOTES: The Washington Huskies look to keep pace at the top of the Pac-12 standings when they host the Utah Utes in a conference battle at Alaska Airlines Arena on Saturday night.
After a solid showing in non-conference play, Utah has really fallen off since league action began. The Utes have lost all five of their league tilts after a 75-65 defeat to Washington State on Wednesday. The losing streak has dropped the Utes below .500 (8-9) for the first time this season. The loss to the Cougars also came on the road where the Utes have just one win in six tries this season. Utah will begin a three-game homestand next against CAlifornia on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Washington has picked up wins in all four of its league showdowns thus far after a 64-54 victory against Colorado on Wednesday. Washington had been rolling before league play opened though as it has earned wins in eight of its last nine contests to push its overall mark to 12-5. In games at Alaska Airlines Arena the Huskies are 7-3 but they will travel to face Oregon State next.
In last season's meeting, the first as league foes for the two squads, Washington took home a 57-53 victory. It was the third straight for the Huskies against Utah although the Utes still lead the all-time series, 7-5.
Utah allowed Washington State to shoot an even 50 percent from the field on Wednesday in the Utes' loss. Points off turnovers also hurt Utah's chances as the UTes coughed the ball up 17 times leading to 28 points for the Cougars. UTah trailed by as many as 17 points in the game while never leading.
Utah's descent into the basement of the Pac-12 has been due to its poor offensive showings. The Utes are 10th in the conference in scoring (65.9) while ranking eighth in field-goal percentage (.451). Utah has managed to keep itself competitive in most games though by playing stout defense as it allows 59.4 points per game on just 37.2 percent shooting. Three different players are scoring in double figures, led by Jarred DuBois (13.0 ppg, 3.4 apg). Versatile forward Jordan Loveridge (12.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.2 apg) is another contributor, while serving as the second scoring option. Jason Washburn (10.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) finishes out the trio of double-digit scorers.
Powered by another strong effort from C.J. Wilcox, who scored a game-high 25 points, Washington was able to hold off Colorado. The Huskies shot just 33.9 percent in the game but outscored the Buffaloes 18-3 from beyond the arc and 17-5 from the free-throw line in the second half to keep its winning streak in conference play alive.
Wilcox (19.4 ppg) is the third-leading scorer in the conference and leads one of the more talented backcourts in the league. Also getting it done from the wings is point guard Abdul Gaddy (11.5 ppg, 3.6 apg) and 3-point marksman Scott Suggs (12.2 ppg, .377 3PFG). Suggs has been cold of late though, hitting just two of his last 12 shots from beyond the arc. In the frontcourt Aziz N'Diaye (11.0 ppg, 9,.4 rpg) is tough to miss as he uses his 7-foot frame to bully opponents. Depth is an issue for Washington though with all five starters playing more than 27 minutes per game. Andre Andrews (7.4 ppg) is the only reserve off the bench to see more than 15 minutes per game.
Both Washington and Utah play grinding styles that don't feature a ton of offense. The Huskies have shown how much they excel in that type of tempo this season and should once again on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 67, Utah 60
01/19 10:32:49 ET