Washington is in the midst of getting comfortable under first-year coach Mike Hopkins and figures to add another victory when it hosts Seattle University on Friday. The Huskies are looking to defeat the Redhawks for the 13th consecutive time and hold a 28-4 edge in the series.
Washington opened the season with consecutive victories before suffering setbacks against Providence (77-70) and Virginia Tech (103-79). Going six full days without a game allowed Hopkins time to patch up some defensive deficiencies and work on the team’s psyche. “The most important thing for me was to let these guys understand that they are really good and we’ve got a good team and we can win if we play the right way with a lot of energy and we do it together,” Hopkins said at a press conference. “That’s been our motto the whole year, ‘tougher together.’ ‘It doesn’t matter, get better’ has been our motto. Part of this thing is you’ve got to believe.” Seattle has lost all three of its road contests by double digits, losing to Saint Louis, Washington State and Belmont.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT SEATTLE (2-3): The Redhawks also have a first-year coach in Jim Hayford - he is the replacement for Cameron Dollar, who was fired after eight seasons and then joined the Washington staff. Seattle features solid balance with sophomore guard Matej Kavas leading the way with a 16-point scoring average and senior swingman Josh Hearlihy (12.8) as well as senior guards Jordan Hill (12.6) and Richaud Gittens (11.6) also averaging in double digits. The Redhawks are limiting opponents to 39.5 percent from the field but struggled in a 90-77 loss to Belmont in their most recent game as the Bruins shot 59.3 percent from the field and made 14 3-pointers.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (2-2): Freshman guard Jaylen Nowell has been an immediate hit and leads the team with a 19.3 average while shooting 55.6 percent from the field. Junior forward Noah Dickerson is averaging 16 points and nine rebounds, numbers inflated by a career-best 28-point, 22-rebound performance against Eastern Washington but hampered by repeated foul trouble. “We need him in the game. He’s a major asset,” Hopkins said. “He’s one of the best low-post scorers I’d have to say in the country when he has the ball. We need him.”
1. Washington is 15-1 at home against the Redhawks.
2. Seattle is averaging 111.5 points in its two victories and 60.7 in its three defeats.
3. The Huskies have 10 or more steals in three of their first four games after reaching that figure just three times in 31 contests last season.
PREDICTION: Washington 93, Seattle 66