Washington State coach Ken Bone, a former Washington assistant, faces the Huskies and his old boss, Lorenzo Romar, Saturday afternoon at Edmundson Pavilion.
Washington assistant coach Homecoming week continues Saturday afternoon.
First Cameron Dollar returned to Montlake and the Huskies handed the new Seattle University coach a 47-point defeat Tuesday.
Now Ken Bone, the first-year Washington State coach, comes back to town with his second team since leaving UW five years ago.
Romar chuckled when asked if he plans to be as hospitable to Bone as he was to Dollar.
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“The plan is for us to play to our potential,” he said. “And then whatever happens after that will take care of itself.”
The Huskies also welcome back Isaiah Thomas, who missed the first game of his college career. The Huskies’ second-leading scorer suffered a stomach illness, which forced him to watch the Redhawks game from home.
“I usually don’t sit out of games,” he said. “It was tough. That’s why I didn’t come back to the arena because if I did, I’d want to play. They played their (tails) off and it gave some guys some more confidence to do better.”
Thomas said he hasn’t eaten in the past three days and was a little winded in Thursday’s practice. Still, he expects to be close to 100 percent against Washington State.
“We played hard (and) played unselfish,” he said of the victory over Seattle U. “That’s the difference. … If we do that, we can win some games.”
Without playing a game Thursday, the Huskies (13-7, 3-5 Pac-10) fell into a last-place tie with Oregon State and Oregon. Romar said if the Huskies lose one or two more games, their only chance of playing in the NCAA tournament would be winning the Pac-10 tournament.
Senior captain Quincy Pondexter said the Huskies need to win the remainder of their games at Edmundson Pavilion, where they are 13-1 this season.
“It’s 9-1-1 and we really have to turn it on,” he said. “With the season winding and getting closer to February, it’s time where teams need to start clicking to get in the NCAA tournament.
“We have to string (together) some wins and we have to just play smart basketball together and hopefully everything clicks and we’re in the NCAA tournament.”
Bone noted earlier this week the Huskies are a different team at home than they are on the road.
“They’re a team as good as anybody in the conference and maybe even the country at playing on their home court,” he said. “They are absolutely relentless. At home those kids are a little bit different than they are on the road, so we’re preparing for the UW at home. … They’re able to play much more physical at home, and on the road I don’t think they get away with the physicality.”
Washington State (14-6, 4-4) has been impressive, notably winning at Arizona and USC. The Huskies dropped lopsided games to the Wildcats and Trojans.
Bone scrapped the Cougars’ old offense and installed an up-tempo attack led by sophomore guard Klay Thompson, who is sixth in the nation in scoring at 22.3 points a game, and freshman guard Reggie Moore, the former Rainier Beach High School star.
“Both teams know each other very well,” said Moore, who averages 14.4 points and 4.6 assists. “There’s not a lot of secrets in this game.”
Romar takes great pride his former assistants have become head coaches, but admits it’s difficult to coach against friends.
“When we were on staff, coach Bone and I, coach Dollar and I, there weren’t very many secrets,” Romar said. “Now it’s the business side of it and we just don’t share much information. You keep that to yourself. But in terms of your friendship, that doesn’t change.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org