Nevada Wolf Pack come to town
Continuing their longest home stand of the year, the Washington Huskies have a chance to make it three in a row when they play the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday night. The game will be aired live on the Pac-12 Network at 5 p.m. Concluding a home-and-home series with Nevada, Washington has the opportunity to avenge a devastating overtime loss in Reno last year.
The task should be easier as this is no longer a 28-7 team, as key players Olek Czyz and Dario Hunt have graduated, leaving a huge hole in low post scoring and rebounding, causing Nevada to rattle off an early 4-4 record. Losses to UC Irvine, Marshall, Drake and Pacific have marred what was once thought of a very good mid-major team.
With the big losses in the paint, freshman Cole Huff has been the biggest beneficiary. At 6-foot-8, 205 pounds, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Native is averaging a very solid seven points and team-high 5.1 rebounds a game. However, rebounding production drops off even more after that, as only junior forward Kevin Panzer averages over four a game. In total, the team grabs 33 a game. Good enough for 260th in the nation.
Despite the rebounding deficiency, returning top scorers Deonte Burton and Malik Story have failed to see their play suffer.
Burton, a junior guard, is building off his 14.8 points a game last year to average 18.9 this year, all the while shooting 47 percent from the field. The 6-foot-1 Los Angeles native also tallies 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals a game.
His help in the backcourt, Story isn’t far behind with 16.9 points per game. A redshirt senior transfer from Indiana, the Pasadena, Calif. local doesn’t provide must outside of his game-altering scoring ability.
In their losses this year, fourth-year head coach David Carter’s teams have been outrebounded by an average of 7.75 rebounds a game. They’ve also have failed to force over 11 turnovers in each of their four losses. However, in their wins, they’ve averaged 17.5 forced turnovers.
Carter, 45 years old, spent some time as a University of Washington graduate assistant in 1989-1990. Later, the Los Angeles native and former St. Mary’s guard moved onto assistant coaching jobs with Diablo Valley, Eastern Washington, St. Mary’s, and Nevada, where he has been at since 1999. Since taking over the head coaching job in 2009, Carter has compiled a very successful 62-39 record and two NIT appearances while taking over for current Georgia head coach Mark Fox.
Historically, Washington has had plenty of success over Nevada with a 6-2 record and 4-1 record at home with the one loss coming in 1989. The series began in 1984 in the NCAA tournament. The starting five on that team was Alvin Vaughn, Shag Williams, Paul Forter, Detlef Schrempf and Christian Welp.