A matchup of two of the best point guards on the West Coast, though the two might not always face off directly. Justin Dentmon is likely...
A matchup of two of the best point guards on the West Coast, though the two might not always face off directly. Justin Dentmon is likely to guard Derek Raivio some but could also see time on Jeremy Pargo, while Gonzaga could go zone or use other players to defend Dentmon and take some pressure off Raivio, who has to score for Gonzaga to win. Dentmon had his breakout game against Gonzaga last season while Raivio hurt his back and played just 11 minutes. Edge: Even.
Huskies could go with either Adrian Oliver or Ryan Appleby to start but both will see significant time. As a tandem, they are averaging 16.2 points. Pargo has been a much better scorer this year (18 points against Texas) though not much of a threat from three-point range (28.1 percent). Reserve true freshman Matt Bouldin already is capable of big nights. Edge: Gonzaga.
Gonzaga goes with a three-guard lineup, with Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes getting the call. He was scoreless in 15 minutes at WSU, however, and the Zags might have to switch things up a little bit to get some better matchups on UW freshman Quincy Pondexter, maybe going more with Bouldin (who is 6-5) or 6-6 junior David Pendergraft. Pondexter has been all he was advertised so far, though his first road game will be challenging. Edge: UW.
Washington men at Gonzaga
8 tonight at McCarthey Athletic Center
TV/Radio: FSN/KJR (950 AM)
Records: UW 7-0, Gonzaga 8-2
Next game: vs. Portland State, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Edmundson Pavilion
Jon Brockman’s scoring has leveled off a bit of late (14 points in the past two games), but he’s averaging 10.8 rebounds in Washington’s past four games and continues to be the heart and soul on the floor. Sean Mallon is a gritty senior who is dangerous from three-point range, though not the rebounder Brockman is. Reserve Abdullahi Kuso is a rugged rebounder. Edge: UW.
Maybe the best matchup of the night, pitting two players — Gonzaga’s Josh Heytvelt and UW’s Spencer Hawes — who project as future first-round NBA draft choices. Heytvelt has been a revelation this season after an injury-plagued freshman campaign, averaging 17.3 points and 7.9 rebounds in just 24.4 minutes. Hawes’ minutes have been limited because of fouls and injury, but he appears to be ready for his first major college test after a career-high 21 against Southern Utah. Edge: Gonzaga.
Neither team is as deep as it had hoped to be, primarily because of injury. Gonzaga has generally used just eight players, with Bouldin, Pendergraft and Kuso coming off the bench. Only Bouldin has been scoring much. Appleby has been back to his instant-offense-off-the-bench role the past two games, and freshman Phil Nelson has been progressing rapidly. Hans Gasser and Brandon Burmesiter have been steady. Edge: UW.
The Bulldogs are the more battle-tested team, having beaten North Carolina and Texas on neutral courts. They also are sure to be fired up after losing Tuesday at Washington State, and their fans figure to be at a fever pitch knowing this is the last game in the series for a while. UW seems to be finding its identity, but this is a dicey setting for four true freshmen to play their first road game.
Score: Gonzaga 91, UW 82.