Preview: Washington at Oregon
Washington puts its undefeated Pac-12 record on the line at Oregon on Thursday in a matchup involving the two best scoring defenses in the conference. The Huskies are trying for their first 6-0 start in the Pac-12 since 1983-84, and have outscored their opponents by 100 points during a seven-game winning streak – their longest since starting 11-0 in 2014-15.
“The only thing I think our standing in the Pac-12 and our record so far in conference does is just we’re getting everyone’s best shot and it makes people want to beat us even more,” Washington senior guard Matisse Thybulle told reporters after the Huskies’ 71-52 victory versus California on Saturday. “That means we have to play even better. We’re accepting the challenge and we’re going to take it head on, and it’s exciting.” The Ducks are coming off a 78-64 loss at Arizona State on Saturday after starting the trip with a 59-54 victory at Arizona on Jan. 17. “We got to continue to develop our team. Offensively, we’re going to have to execute better,” Oregon coach Dana Altman told reporters after his club’s scoring average dropped to 72.1 – second-lowest in the Pac-12 with Washington just ahead 72.6. The Ducks have won six straight in the series – their longest since winning seven in a row from 1937-39 – by an average of 13 points after last season’s 72-64 victory in Seattle behind 14 points from junior guard Payton Pritchard, and hasn’t lost at home to the Huskies since 2010.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT WASHINGTON (14-4, 5-0 Pac-12): Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell (team highs of 16.7 points and 3.4 assists per game, 5.4 rebounds) recorded 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists versus Cal after scoring 19 or more in four of his previous five games, and is averaging 7.6 boards in conference games. Thybulle was eighth nationally in steals (2.72) and 20th in blocks (2.33) entering Thursday – the only player ranked in the top 20 in both categories and one of two in the top 100 (Duke’s Zion Williamson). Senior forward Noah Dickerson (13.2 points, club-high 6.7 rebounds) recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds Saturday for his third double-double of the season while senior guard David Crisp (11.2 points) is scoring 15.6 per contest and has connected on 15-for-26 from the 3-point range in Pac-12 games.
ABOUT OREGON (11-7, 2-3): Pritchard (team highs of 11.9 points and 4.5 assists), whose 20 points Saturday were his most since scoring 22 in the season opener, needs seven assists to become the sixth player in program history with 1,000 points and 400 assists. Freshman forward Louis King (10.4 points, 5.3 rebounds) is averaging 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in Pac-12 games, including a pair of double-doubles and recording 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists versus USC on Jan. 13. Senior forward Paul White (10.8 points) has reached double figures in six straight games, averaging 15.6 in the Pac-12 while grabbing at least four rebounds in each of the last six contests.
1. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 at 64.9 points allowed per game with the Huskies at 65.0 while Washington and Oregon are 1-2 in field goal percentage defense at 39.5 and 39.6, respectively.
2. Thybulle (254 career steals) is five away from moving past Arizona State’s Eddie House (1996-2000) and into third all-time in Pac-12 annals with Oregon State’s Gary Payton (321 from 1986-90) and Stanford’s Brevin Knight (298, 1993-97) leading the way.
3. Ducks senior G Ehab Amin (6.2 points) is one of two active players with 1,000 points (1,175), 500 rebounds (502), 200 assists (212) and 200 steals (249). Fort Wayne’s John Konchar is the other.