SEATTLE - The Washington Huskies will meet the Seattle University Redhawks tonight at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
But which Huskies? And which Redhawks?
Even in this first full season back in NCAA Division I, Seattle U. is UW’s clear match in at least one area: inconsistency.
And that’s saying something.
These Huskies followed an ugly sweep at the hands of the Pacific-10 Conference’s Arizona schools with a dominating sweep of the Bay Area schools, and then followed that last weekend by getting swept by the Los Angeles schools.
However, Seattle U. can match that. Maybe even exceed it.
The Redhawks went to Oregon State on Jan. 6 and pounded the Pac-10 school by 51 points – 99-48.
But they followed that with losses to Sacramento State and Cal State Northridge.
In a way, the Redhawks’ reversal is even harder to figure. Frustrating as UW’s ups and downs have been, its Jekyll and Hyde transformations have been reasonably predictable: Good Dawgs at home, bad Dawgs away.
“The way we played (at home against California), that wasn’t just one of those nights, that was a team that was together and played up to its potential,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “So, it’s there. We have to make sure it’s there on the road on a consistent basis.”
However, the Redhawks’ mauling of Oregon State and follow-up losses to lower-profile teams all happened within six days on a single road trip.
Asked to explain what separates the good Hawks from the lesser Hawks, SU coach Cameron Dollar pointed to the basics.
“Playing together. Sharing the ball,” he said. “I think any time you can get your team – not just my team, but any team – to use their talents with each other and not necessarily against each other, I think you have a good chance of coming out on top. … Throughout the course of a year, whether you have a success or failure, your team can kind of drift away from what you’re supposed to do.”
Romar and Dollar share more than inconsistent teams. They share a long history after Dollar worked for seven seasons as Romar’s assistant at UW before taking over at Seattle U. this season.
“It’s going to be real weird knowing he’s over there and not with us,” UW sophomore Isaiah Thomas said. “It’s weird not having him. But knowing he’s on that side, just thinking about the scout he has, (he) probably knows the ins and out of what we do.”
Dollar denies that his purple past offers any edge.
“Our kids are excited,” he said. “I don’t know if there are any advantages on our side. It’s a hostile environment. They’ve got some really, really talented guys. And they’re coming off of a weekend that in their minds was disappointing. We saw what happened last time they came home off a weekend that was disappointing; and we hope to not be that carnage that the Bay Area teams were.”
Similarly, the Huskies hope not to be the carnage the Beavers were. Not because of any familiarity among the coaching staffs. Not even because of the battle for Emerald City supremacy. And not because Seattle U.’s leading scorer and rebounder – Charles Garcia – originally committed to UW before academic issues detoured him across town.
The Huskies say this game is important because their postseason hopes are hanging by a thread, and they need this four-game homestand to sling them back in the right direction.
“We’ve come off four out of six losses, and we’ve got to come out and, not prove to anyone else, but prove to ourselves we can come out and play the right way,” Romar said. “That’s how you begin to breed confidence again. Before the UCLA game, we were sky high. After that loss, it changes so quickly. If you can change that way that quickly, well, you can change the other way, too. Things can look up for us again.”
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808
SEATTLE University (9-11) AT WASHINGTON (12-7)
7 p.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
TV: FSN. Radio: 950-AM (UW broadcast) and 710-AM (SU).
Series: Seattle leads, 20-4, with an 11-1 edge at home. However, the series had been dormant for 29 seasons before last season, when UW won, 87-60, at home.
Statistical leaders: For SU – PF Charles Garcia, 20.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg; G Cervante Burrell, 3.9 apg. For UW – F Quincy Pondexter, 19.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg; G Venoy Overton, 3.3 apg.
Scouting report: Washington is 12-1 at home, while the Redhawks are 3-8 on the road. However, this game is about four miles from campus. … UW has lost its past two games, while the Redhawks arrive after wins over Utah Valley and Cal State Northridge. … Northridge is one of three common opponents: UW beat the Matadors by 12, while SU split two meetings. UW beat Portland by 35, while SU lost by 18. However, UW beat Oregon State by six at home, while SU beat the Beavers by 51 in Corvallis. … Garcia originally committed to UW before academic issues detoured him to SU. … The Redhawks are coached by Cameron Dollar, who spent seven seasons as a Huskies assistant coach. … Among the five Redhawks from the state of Washington is forward Aaron Broussard of Federal Way, who averages 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds. … SU will wear burgundy-colored throwback uniforms, and players will wear the numbers of SU legends. Garcia will wear Elgin Baylor’s No. 22.
Next: 12:30 p.m. Saturday, vs. Washington State, Hec Edmundson Pavilion, FSN.
Don Ruiz, staff writer