GAME NOTES: The Washington Huskies try to break out of a two-game funk tonight as they host the Montana Grizzlies in non-conference play at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The Huskies won two of their first three games of 2013-14, but following a 92-80 triumph over Eastern Washington on Nov. 17 the team fell to Indiana (102-84) and Boston College (89-78) at Madison Square Garden as part of the 2K Sports Classic.
As for the Grizzlies, their only win thus far was a 77-69 triumph over South Dakota State on the road back on Nov. 14. Last Friday night, the team finally returned to the hardwood and was handed a 75-74 setback in the home opener versus San Francisco.
In a series that dates back to 1924, the Huskies hold a considerable advantage over Montana at 42-9. Washington has won three straight, thanks to a 63-59 triumph at home back in 2010. Prior to this three-game win streak for the Huskies, Montana had won three straight and five of six between 1983-95.
Montana led by as many as eight points in the second half against USF, but the Dons responded by building a minor advantage of their own and managed to hold on for the one-point victory. Kareem Jamar led the way for the Grizzlies with 25 points, adding eight assists and six rebounds, while Keron DeShields pitched in with 12 points. Reserves Jordan Gregory and Chris Kemp responded with 10 points and four rebounds apiece as the team turned the ball over 16 times and shot just 6-of-14 at the free-throw line.
Jamar has led Montana in both scoring and rebounding in all three games thus far, resulting in his 22.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg. He is also first with 18 assists and is shooting 40.0 percent behind the 3-point line, but his accuracy at the charity stripe (.560) is sorely lacking and has brought the entire unit down to only 57.1 percent.
The Washington defense allowed Boston College to shoot 55.9 percent from the field for the game, including 8-of-15 behind the 3-point line in the first half, and that put the Huskies in a hole that was simply too deep to climb out of in the end. C.J. Wilcox did all he could to keep Washington in the mix with his 30 points, hitting all but one of his seven triples, followed by Darin Johnson with 11 points off the bench. Andrew Andrews and Mike Anderson both accounted for 10 points and four assists, the latter pacing the program with eight rebounds.
Through five games, Wilcox is the leading scorer with his 23.0 ppg, stemming from 41.2 percent accuracy out on the perimeter and 29-of-34 (.853) at the charity stripe where the group has outscored the its opponents by a combined 30 points thus far. Andrews (13.0 ppg) and Nigel Williams-Goss (12.0 ppg) are also critical pieces to the puzzle, with Williams-Goss responsible for 24 assists and 10 steals.
As long as Wilcox doesn't have to do all the work himself and there are other Huskies to help shoulder the load, this is a game that the home team should be able to pull out.
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