UW Huskies host No. 12 Gonzaga on heels of upset of No. 2 Kansas
Washington has gone from uncertainty to beating No. 2 Kansas to feeling confident facing in-state rival No. 12 Gonzaga, which is in need of a morale boost after losing big to Villanova.
The Huskies (7-2) face the Bulldogs (7-2) for the 46th time when meet in Seattle on Sunday. It is Gonzaga’s first true road game of the season.
Washington is coming off a convincing 74-65 win over the Jayhawks in Kansas City, while Gonzaga is smarting from an 82-66 loss to No. 4 Villanova in New York City.
“When you schedule like this and play games like this, you, for lack of a better term, expose your guys,” Few said. “And we learned some things. I told them after the game, we have to start valuing the little things.
“The (19) turnovers, literally, came in every way, shape and form. It was foot faults, it was putting your head down and running a guy over, it was three seconds in the key, it was not being strong with the ball, a bad screen, you name it. It’s not just one thing you can drill out. But we have to value those things because they go a long ways toward winning.”
Few is adjusting to life without experienced point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who turned pro after his junior season a year ago. Williams-Goss scored 23 points to lead Gonzaga to a 98-71 victory over Washington last year in Spokane, Wash.
Washington’s experienced junior backcourt of David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle are essential to the Huskies’ development under new coach Mike Hopkins, whose team lost by 24 to Virginia Tech in New York City earlier this season.
Against Kansas, Crisp had one of his best games. He finished with a season-high seven assists in 37 minutes. He made two 3-pointers, including a dagger following a loose-ball scramble with 2:16 left that put Washington ahead 73-59.
Noah Dickerson, a 6-foot-8 forward, had 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes against Kansas. Thybulle connected on 5 of 8 3-pointers with a season-high 19 points. He also had a block and two steals.
“From the beginning of the season it was on us, we knew it was going to be on us to believe in us and we weren’t going to have a lot of help on our side,” Thybulle said. “We realized from the jump, at Pac-12 media day, they had us selected 10th and people didn’t believe we couldn’t do anything this season.”
Washington leads 29-16 in the series with Gonzaga, but the Bulldogs have won 10 of the past 11 matchups. The Huskies have won 18 of the 23 meetings in Seattle, including the most recent matchup, a 99-95 win on Dec. 4, 2005. Gonzaga’s last win at Alaska Airlines Arena (then Hec Edmundson Pavilion) was Dec. 3, 2003.
Senior forward Johnathan Williams leads Gonzaga with 14.7 points per game. Josh Perkins, a redshirt junior guard, is 19th in the nation with 30 made 3-pointers. He averages 14.4 points per game.
Zach Norvell is averaging 20 points over the last three games while shooting 22 of 35 (62.8 percent) from the field in that span. He scored a career-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, including 4 of 8 from behind the arc in the loss to Villanova.