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Dawgs Continue Desert Trip At No. 4 Arizona

Feb 23, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Washington Huskies (15-12, 7-9 Pac-12) aim to complete a sweep of its Arizona rivals with a visit to No. 4 Arizona on Saturday.
 
The Huskies and Wildcats tip off at 11 a.m. Pacific Time on CBS. Tom McCarthy and Chris Walker have the call on national television while Tony Castricone and Jason Hamilton will call the action on the Husky Sports Network and in Seattle on Sports Radio 93.3 KJR-FM.
 
THE MATCHUP
Washington attempts to halt a seven-game skid against Arizona. The Wildcats have won 16 of the last 19 and 58 of 89 (.651) overall. Two of UW's three most recent wins came in Tucson. UW enters Saturday having won three of its last four, two of which have been on the road. A win for the Huskies on Saturday would give them their most Pac-12 road wins in a single season since 2018-19. They are looking to sweep the Arizona schools on the road for the first time since 2019-20 and for the 3rd time in the Pac-12 era.
 
LAST TIME OUT
Braxton Meah made two free throws with 32 seconds left in overtime and Washington beat Arizona State 84-82 on Thursday night. Keion Brooks Jr. and Koren Johnson hit back-to-back three-pointers and the Huskies closed on a 16-0 run to take a 45-24 advantage into halftime. They forced the Sun Devils to miss their final eight attempts and shoot 29% in the half. Meah tied a career-high with 14 rebounds, which he set against ASU earlier this season. For just the second time this season, the Huskies won a game while surrendering more than 76 points. It is the first sweep in the series by either team since 2017 (ASU) and the first by UW since 2016. It was also the Huskies' first win in Tempe since 2020. 
 
TOP DAWGS
UW is the only Power-5 team with conference leaders in both points per game and assists per game. Sahvir Wheeler is second among active DI leaders in assists (809) and ranks in the top 50 in DI history. Wheeler and Paul Mulcahy each rank in the top-ten in the Pac-12 in assists per game and combine for the most career assists of any backcourt in the country. Mulcahy ranks 22nd (547) among active leaders. Wheeler passed Dejounte Murray for 9th on UW's single-season list (153) and is six shy of tying Nate Robinson for 7th.
 
JULIUS ERVING AWARD WATCH LIST
Brooks Jr. was named a top-10 candidate for the 2024 Julius Erving Award in January. He is one of two DI players averaging 21.0 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game while shooting 49% overall (Zach Edey). The last Pac-12 player with those averages was Deandre Ayton. Brooks is in the midst of a career year, shooting 50 percent overall and 37 percent from three-point range. Prior to this season, he had never made more than 30 percent of his threes. Fans can vote on  hoopshall.com
 
NON-CONFERENCE RECAP
The Huskies won eight non-conference games for second-straight season, which equals their most since winning 10 in 2019-20. The Huskies went 4-2 over teams that made last year's NCAA Tournament. No other Pac-12 team had more such wins during non-conference play. UW is one of four Pac-12 teams to beat a Top-25 non-conference opponent this season (Gonzaga). Two of the Huskies' three losses were to top-35 NET teams (CSU, SDSU).
 
HIGH-SCORING HUSKIES
The Huskies are averaging 81.0 ppg, the second-most in the Pac-12 and most by a UW team since 2015-16 (83.9). It puts an offense that has scored 90 points five times 32nd in the country. UW scored at least 74 points in each of its first 10 games in 2023-24 after only reaching the 74-point mark three times in the first 10 games last season. They are also fourth in the league in shooting percentage and third in fastbreak points.
 
MISSING THE BIG MAN
UW started the season 7-3 but is 8-9 with big man Franck Kepnang sidelined since.
 
THE RETURNERS
UW is one of three Pac-12 teams to return multiple All-Conference honorees, behind only USC. Preseason first-team All-Conference choice Keion Brooks Jr. headlines the core of returners as the leading returning scorer in the entire Pac-12. He averaged 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds to earn Second Team All-Pac-12 honors. Braxton Meah is back for another season in purple and gold after shooting over 70 percent in 2022-23 to lead the league and set a new single-season Husky record. He was selected to the All-Defensive team after averaging 1.6 blocks per game.
 
Koren Johnson enters his sophomore season following a stellar freshman campaign in which he racked up 34 steals, which were tied for second on the team. Franck Kepnang adds depth to the frontcourt after missing the majority of the 2022-23 season due to injury.
 
THE NEWCOMERS
Kentucky grad transfer Sahvir Wheeler highlights an experienced group of newcomers. Wheeler twice led the SEC in assists, both times ranking in the top five in the NCAA with over six helpers per game.
 
Wilhelm Breidenbach (Nebraska), Nate Calmese (Lamar), Anthony Holland (Fresno State) Paul Mulcahy (Rutgers) and Moses Wood (Portland) also arrived in Seattle via the transfer portal. Four-star guard Wesley Yates III headlines the freshman class of four.
 
SIGNING DAY
Head Coach Mike Hopkins and the Huskies signed four-star guard Casmir Chavis to a letter of intent on National Signing Day in December, the Huskies' first commit in the 2024 class.
 
NEW AT ALASKA AIRLINES ARENA
New LED lights will not only greatly enhance gameday energy and the fan experience, but the technology also supports UW's focus on sustainability.  Complete with instant on/off and color takeover capabilities, new LED lighting will enhance team entrances and create other special moments in the arena.
 
The Huskies are also playing on a new surface with a redesigned court.
 
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