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November 19, 2009

No. 14 UW Set To Host San Jose State



The Huskies will play the San Jose State Spartans on Friday night at Bank of America Arena at 8:00 PM.

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Northwest and KJR-950 in Seattle, or your local Husky radio affiliate elsewhere (click here to find yours). Tickets are still available through GoHuskies.com and start at $20 each.

What you need to know about the Huskies:

The Huskies come into the game at 3-0, having won all three of their games during the Athletes in Action Classic last weekend.

Quincy Pondexter was named Pac-10 player of the week for his performance last weekend, when he averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas was a monster during the Huskies opening games as well, averaging 24.7 points and five rebounds in the three wins.

Of course it's coincidence, but what better way to get back at players who transfer than by scheduling games against their schools and beating them. It happened on Sunday to Phil Nelson and Portland State when the Huskies won 111 to 55. Now they get another chance as Adrian Oliver comes to town.

Washington has only played San Jose State once before, defeating them 88-69 in 1976.

Projected lineup: G - Venoy Overton, G - Isaiah Thomas, F - Quincy Pondexter, F - Darnell Gant, F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning

Husky to watch:

Scott Suggs, Sophomore Guard: Suggs has been all the rage this week, starring in feature stories for The News Tribune and The Seattle Times, after averaging six points in the Huskies' first three games and earning a call from the bench very early in the games on Saturday and Sunday. Suggs will need to show that he's ready to be assertive on a consistent basis to ensure he keeps his spot in the rotation once Elston Turner gets his early season shooting slump straightened out.

What you need to know about San Jose State:

San Jose State comes into the game at 1-0 after defeating William Jessup, 89-63, on Monday night.

San Jose State went 13-17 last season overall, and 6-10 in conference play, finishing in a sixth-place tie in the Western Athletic Conference. San Jose State was picked in both the WAC coaches' poll, and WAC media poll to finish eighth in the conference.

Head coach George Nessman enters his fifth season at San Jose State with four of his five starters from last season. His biggest loss is forward Tim Pierce who averaged 11.6 ppg and 5.4 rebounds.

Key returnees this season are guard Justin Graham (8.3 ppg, 4.7 apg, 1.7 spg), forward C.J. Webster and center Chris Oakes (Webster and Oakes: combined 20 ppg, 14 rpg), and former Husky guard Adrian Oliver (17.1 ppg in 18 games last season). Oliver notched the first double-double of his career Monday with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Spartans have a talented group of forwards and may not make things easy for the Huskies on the inside.

Projected lineup: G - Justin Graham, G - Adrian Oliver, F - C.J. Websiter, F - Chris Jones, C - Chris Oakes

Spartan to watch:

Senior Center, Chris Oakes: The 6'10", 235 lb., Oakes will be a presence to contend with in the middle for the Huskies. Oakes averaged 8.2 points and 7.6 rebounds last season. This year, the Pepperdine transfer will be relied upon even more heavily. Oakes should test the Husky forwards.

The path to victory:

No letdown: It's a good thing the team has had a week to listen to Coach Lorenzo Romar tell them that they're not nearly as good as they may have looked in Sunday night's 56-point win. Hopefully, the team resists the urge to wear their cool jackets out on Friday night against a team they should have no problem defeating handily.

Outside shooting: Having to rely on Justin Holiday one night, and Scott Suggs the next, for outside shooting is not a recipe for success. Coach Romar will need to know who he can rely upon to shoot the three and hit it by midseason. If it's not Elston Turner, the Huskies can survive. But, it needs to be someone, and on a consistent basis.

A quick word from the opposition:

Had a chance to briefly catch up with former Husky guard Adrian Oliver, who's currently starting for the Spartans and is expected to be their main scoring threat:

UDUBsports: Describe the significance of coming back to play at UW after starting your college career here.

Adrian Oliver: It's exciting. I still have relationships with players on the team. My roommate (when I was at UW) was Quincy (Pondexter). We came in together in the same class.

UDUBsports: Please give me the scouting report on the Spartans. Where are you right now as a team?

AO: This (game) is going to be a good test for us early on. Our team has something to prove.

UDUBsports: What will you need to do to beat UW?

AO: As a team, we have to play hard, not be afraid, not let the crowd get into the game. We've got to be tough. . . They have one of the best student sections in the nation. The Huskies feed off of their energy. It's a great college basketball atmosphere.

UDUBsports: Anything else you want to share with the UW fans?

AO: Lorenzo Romar is a great man. He caught my attention out of high school. He is a great coach and a great teacher. He turned me into the man I am today. When I was at Washington, I turned to him as a father figure.

What I expect:

I expect Pondexter to continue to generally excel, but to come back down to earth a little bit, since he'll have more trouble dominating near the rim simply by outhustling and outmuscling during this matchup.

I expect Justin Holiday to keep being aggressive on offense. Every other piece of his game is terrific. Until he proves otherwise, who am I to doubt that he can become a viable option shooting the ball?

I expect the Huskies will have to settle for a margin of victory less than 56 points, but I do believe that they'll prevail easily. I'm picking the Huskies by 26, 92-66.


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