Preview: UW Huskies challenge No. 1 Gonzaga in Spokane

Dec 4, 2018, 11:46 PM
Rui Hachimura, Zach Norvell and No. 1 Gonzaga will look to stay undefeated vs. UW. (AP)...
Rui Hachimura, Zach Norvell and No. 1 Gonzaga will look to stay undefeated vs. UW. (AP)

Bobby Jones was a senior at Washington the last time his Huskies beat Gonzaga.

Norvell rallies No. 1 Zags past Creighton | UW beats UCSB 67-63

Washington overcame Adam Morrison’s 43 points to win 99-95 that night in 2005, but Jones, in an interview with The Seattle Times, said what he calls “the Apple Cup of basketball” hasn’t been much of a competition since then.

“I don’t see it as a rivalry, I see domination,” Jones told the Times. “But it can’t stay like this forever so I guess that’s the silver lining.

“They’re a great program and kudos to them. I’m not going to let my so-called hatred for Gonzaga deny me from speaking the truth. But times have changed. We have a different coach in Mike Hopkins and different set of players with a new system. Maybe it’s time for a change in results and it’ll become a real rivalry.”

This year’s Huskies (6-2) travel to Spokane, Wash., to meet the No. 1 Zags (8-0) on Wednesday looking for just their second win in the past 13 games in the series.

After the Gonzaga routed Washington 97-70 in 2006, the series took a nine-hiatus before resuming in 2015. The Bulldogs have recorded three blowout wins since then.

On Wednesday, the Huskies will have to try to figure out how to slow the nation’s No. 2 scoring team. Washington’s 2-3 zone defense has been effective enough to hold opponents to 66.4 points per game, but the Zags come in averaging 98.4.

Ryan Appleby, a member of the 2005 team who holds the Washington record of nine made 3-pointers in a game, said the Huskies, who are shooting 32 percent from deep on the season, need an atypically good outside shooting night to have a shot.

“If they can make outside shots at a clip of like 55 or 60 percent, that’s the X-factor,” Appleby said. “Gonzaga has got a lot of size and experienced guards. It’s going to be difficult on the inside and rebounding.”

The Zags are in the middle of a difficult stretch that started with Saturday’s 103-92 win at Creighton.

As they did a year ago, the Bulldogs trailed the Bluejays at halftime only to come roaring back in the second half.

In both games, Zach Norvell Jr. was the catalyst.

Norvell topped himself this year with 23 second-half points – he had 21 last year after failing to score in the first 20 minutes – to lead Gonzaga.

Does he have some kind of control on his jersey?

“Naw, I don’t have a switch, just trying to stay poised throughout everything,” Norvell told the (Spokane) Spokesman-Review. “Coach (Mark) Few has talked to me a couple of times, just knowing time and score. I’m still learning that as a young player. I have to get it corrected early and not late.”

The Zags’ next two games involve teams ranked in the top 15.

They play No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday and travel to Chapel to face No. 14 North Carolina on Dec. 15.



The Associated Press

Pac-12 Commissioner Kliavkoff jabs Big 12, touts future after USC, UCLA

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said his conference is far from finished, despite the defections of Southern California and UCLA.
2 months ago
UW Huskies...
Brandon Gustafson

Huard breaks down what he was told was ‘worst day’ in Pac-12 history

Former UW QB and current college football analyst Brock Huard shared his thoughts on the departure of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12.
3 months ago
WSU Jahad Woods...
Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: WSU, other small schools ‘going to suffer’ after Pac-12 shakeup

In his latest video for Seattle Sports 710 AM, Michael Bumpus discusses the fallout of USC and UCLA leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.
3 months ago
Brandon Gustafson

What report of USC and UCLA leaving Pac-12 means for UW and WSU

With reports of shakeup to the Pac-12 conference, Michael Bumpus explains what that means for UW and WSU going forward.
3 months ago
Hugh McElhenny...
The Associated Press

Hall of Fame NFL RB, UW standout Hugh McElhenny dies at 93

NFL Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny, an elusive running back from the 1950s who starred for the Washington Huskies, has died. He was 93.
3 months ago
UW Huskies Lindsay Meggs...
The Associated Press

UW Huskies baseball coach Lindsay Meggs retires after 13 seasons

UW Huskies baseball coach Lindsay Meggs announced his retirement Monday after 317 wins and three NCAA Tournament appearances in 13 seasons.
4 months ago
Preview: UW Huskies challenge No. 1 Gonzaga in Spokane