Three Huskies will be introduced at Hec Edmundson Pavilion for the final time at 7:30 tonight, as the Washington men's basketball team celebrates Senior Night.
The game with Southern California will mark the last one at home for seniors Justin Holiday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Venoy Overton. They head into the game with a four-year record of 88-45, second best among senior classes in school history.
“They’ve been a part of a lot of success,” coach Lorenzo Romar said Friday. “It’s been great to see each guy, in his own way, how he’s contributed to this program.”
The résumé of this senior class also includes the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference championship and the 2010 Pac-10 tournament championship along with an appearance in the 2010 Sweet 16.
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• Bryan-Amaning will leave as the No. 2 shot-blocker in school history. He shares the school record with seven blocks in a game. He and Christian Welp are the only Huskies ever to record 100 blocks and steals in a career.
“We know that how this ends is how we’re going to be perceived as Huskies in the future,” Bryan-Amaning said. “We know that this is our last time to go around, whereas the other guys are going to have years to come to show other things.”
• Holiday was named to the 2010 Pac-10 all defensive team and has served as co-captain this season along with Isaiah Thomas.
“It being my last (home game), I’m not really worried about that,” Holiday said. “I just want to win. That’s what it comes down to for me.”
• Overton will be making his 133rd career appearance, tying him for second most in school history, three behind Quincy Pondexter. He will finish either first or second on the UW steals list and in the top three in assists.
“We know after (tonight) we’ve still got work to do,” Overton said. “If we keep winning, that’s going to make the perfect senior season.”
Holiday and Bryan-Amaning are regular starters, and Romar said Overton also will start tonight so that he can be introduced to the home crowd one last time.
“You spend all these years with these guys,” Romar said. “You’ve gone through things with them behind closed doors: good, bad. You’ve watched them grow. ... You’re family. And you know they’re going to be doing fine, but you’re not going to have that opportunity to be with them all the time. It gets tough.”
Beyond the sentiment, this farewell to this senior class also has practical meaning.
The Huskies continue to say they need a strong finish – and perhaps a Pac-10 tournament title – to be assured of an NCAA berth.
Washington also begins the day with a chance of passing UCLA for the second seed in the Pac-10 tournament next week at Los Angeles.
That will happen only if the Bruins lose today at Washington State and the Huskies take care of business against the Trojans.
The No. 2 seed’s path to the tournament title game goes through the No. 7/10 and 3 seeds, while the No. 3 seed’s path goes through the No. 6 and 2 seeds.
“I don’t think we really matter about that,” Overton said. “We just know everybody can be beat. It doesn’t matter who you play in the Pac-10 tournament, you just have to be ready to play.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (17-13 OVERALL, 9-8 Pacific-10 conference) AT WASHINGTON (20-9, 11-6)
7:30 p.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion
TV: FSN. Radio: 950-AM.
Series: USC leads, 67-66. The Trojans swept last season. This season, UW won the Dec. 29 meeting in Los Angeles, 73-67, in overtime.
Statistical leaders: For USC – Nikola Vucevic, 17.6 ppg and 10.3 rpg; Maurice Jones, 3.4 apg. For UW – Isaiah Thomas, 16.6 ppg and 5.7 apg; Matthew Bryan-Amaning, 8.4 rpg.
Scouting report: A Washington win combined with a UCLA loss today at Washington State would move the Huskies to the No. 2 seed in the Pac-10 tournament next week in Los Angeles. If the Bruins win or the Huskies lose, UW will be the No. 3 seed. ... UW leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (84.9 ppg), USC leads in scoring defense (63 ppg). The Huskies also lead in offensive rebounding percentage, while the Trojans lead in defensive rebounding percentage. ... Individually, Vucevic leads the Pac-10 in rebounding and is third in scoring. Thomas is first in assists and fourth in scoring. Bryan-Amaning is fourth in rebounding. UW’s Scott Suggs also leads in 3-point field-goal percentage. ... Washington is trying to sweep the L.A. schools for the third time in school history. ... This season, UW is 8-1 against schools from California. ... Seniors Justin Holiday, Venoy Overton and Bryan-Amaning will be honored before the final home game of their college careers. In honor of Senior Night, Overton will move into the starting lineup, likely in place of C.J. Wilcox. Wilcox is coming off a career-high 24 points in UW’s win over UCLA on Thursday.
Next: Thursday, time and opponent to be determined, Pacific-10 tournament, Staples Center, Los Angeles.
Don Ruiz, staff writer