Cal Poly (4-5) at Washington (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 20, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Cal Poly 3-1, Washington 4-3. Away Record: Cal Poly 1-4, Washington 1-0. Neutral Record: Cal Poly 0-0, Washington 1-1. Conference Record: Cal Poly 0-0, Washington 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The long string of home games continues for the Washington Huskies as they play host for the Cal Poly Mustangs on Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
This is the second of a three-game road trip for Cal Poly which fell to Santa Clara, 72-64, in the opening salvo of the trip. The setback pushed the Mustangs back below .500 at 4-5 overall. Playing on the road has not been a comfort for Cal Poly which is 1-4 in away matchups. The Mustangs face six- straight teams from the Golden State next beginning with UC Riverside.
Washington has played just three games away from Alaska Airlines Arena and has enjoyed the comforts of home with wins in four of its last five contests. On Saturday the Huskies topped Jackson State, 75-67, to earn consecutive wins for the second time this season and improve to 6-4 overall. Despite having the homecourt advantage for the majority of the year, the Huskies are just 4-3 on their home floor. A final home game is up next for Washington against Northern Illinois, before a four-game road trip.
Despite sharing the same coast, this marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
Cal Poly was tied 50-50 with Santa Clara with less than 10 minutes left in the second half but a 17-4 run from the Broncos caused enough separation as they went on to earn the win. Points from the free-throw line were the difference in the outcome as Santa Clara outscored the Mustangs 23-9 from the charity stripe. In fact the Broncos had more than twice as many attempts (28) as Cal Poly did (12). Chris Eversley had a strong game in defeat, with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The scoring margin for Cal Poly this season has been razor thin (+0.8). The Mustangs are scoring 64.9 points per game and hitting just 42.6 percent of their shots from the field. Both of those marks are good enough for only eighth in the Big West Conference. Cal Poly is even worse on the boards, bringing in only 31.2 rebounds per game, the 10th worst mark in the conference. The Mustangs do manage to hold on to the ball well with the fourth best assist-to-turnover rate (1.63) in the country. On the other end of the floor the Mustangs allow 64.1 points per game, while teams are shooting at a superior 45.8 percent from the floor. Eversley (15.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is a versatile forward that can shoot from the outside as well as get inside and score and crash the boards. Brian Bennett (10.4 ppg) is Eversley's running mate in the front court, while Dylan Royer (10.0 ppg) is the top option on the wings. Kyle Odister (7.6 ppg) provides a spark off the bench.
Four different players scored in double figures for Washington in its win over Jackson State. The Huskies hit on 50.9 percent of their shots from the floor including a 61.9 percent effort in the final 20 minutes. With the win the Huskies are now 5-0 this season when hitting at least 50 percent of their field goal attempts. C.J. Wilcox continued his strong season with 21 points to lead the Huskies.
Wilcox (19.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg) is the unquestioned go-to option on the offensive end for Washington. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in five of his last six games and has been the only player to score in double figures in every game. Scott Suggs (14.4 ppg) provides a nice complement, as he has nailed 55.2 percent of his shots from 3-point range. Abdul Gaddy (13.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) handles the point and can also score out of the backcourt. Aziz N'Diaye (11.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and Desmond Simmons (6.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg) have been anchors on the front line especially with their efforts on the glass. N'Diaye has scored in double figures in a career-high five straight games and leads the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds (3.7 pg). Even with N'Ddiaye and Simmons' contributions the Huskies are still just the ninth best rebounding team in the Pac-12 (36.2 pg). Overall the Huskies are scoring a healthy 72.7 points per game on 47.2 percent shooting. On the defensive end the Huskies surrender 69.9 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting.
A major issue for Washington is a lack of depth behind the starters. Still the Huskies have a ton of talent and led by Wilcox will be able to out-muscle Cal Poly and post a seventh win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 77, Cal Poly 69
12/20 10:38:12 ET