UW Meets No. 17 Alabama in Puerto Rico Classic Men's Basketball Tourney
Dec. 21, 2000
Wed. - Fri., Dec. 20-22 --
UW at Puerto Rico Holiday Classic
Eugene Guerra Sports Complex (2,500), San Juan, P.R.
Thurs., Dec. 21 --
UW vs. #17 Alabama, 3:30 pm PST (7:30 pm AST)
Fri., Dec. 22 --
Winner vs. Clemson/Cincinnati winner, 3:30 pm PST (7:30 pm AST)
Loser vs. Clemson/Cincinnati loser, 1:00 pm PST (5:00 pm AST)
The Washington Huskies (5-3) face their most difficult task to date this season, meeting undefeated and 17th-ranked Alabama (8-0) on Thursday, Dec. 21 in the semifinal round of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. Tip-off is 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time (7:30 p.m. Atlantic Time) at the Eugene Guerra Sports Complex. Washington won a 67-47 first-round decision over host American-Puerto Rico on Wednesday while the Crimson Tide advanced to the second round by virtue of a 64-56 victory over Northern Iowa. The two schools have never before met in men's basketball. The winner has a championship-game date with the Cincinnati-Clemson winner on Friday, Dec. 22 at 3:30 p.m. PST (7:30 p.m. AST). The losers meet at 1 p.m. PST (5 p.m. AST) to determine who takes home the third-place trophy and who finishes fifth in the tournament. The Huskies are in the midst of a 10-day, 7,658-mile journey that began in Miami on Dec. 16 with a 63-61 victory at Florida International. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, the Huskies host a pair of home games at Bank of America Arena, against UC Irvine on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. and versus San Diego on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m.
Puerto Rico Holiday Classic Field:
Along with Washington, the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic field includes 2000 NCAA Tournament participant Cincinnati, Atlantic Coast Conference competitor Clemson and Southeast Conference member Alabama. Rounding out the field are host American University-Puerto Rico, the Huskies' first-round foe, Florida Atlantic, Northern Iowa and Youngstown State. Washington meets either Cincinnati or Clemson on Friday in the third and final round of the tournament.
Thursday's Washington-Alabama game will not be televised. All Husky men's basketball games are broadcast live on KOMO Radio (AM 1000) and its affiliates by play-by-play announcer Bob Rondeau. The radio broadcasts can be accessed via the internet at: http://www.audionet.com/schools/washington/
The Puerto Rico Holiday Classic marks Washington's third regular-season tournament appearance in as many years. The Huskies won the 1998 Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hi. with a 76-60 victory over Georgia Tech. They finished fifth at the 1999 Great Alaska Shootout last year in Anchorage.
The UW hoop squad traversed four time zones to play in Puerto Rico which is in the Atlantic Time Zone and is four hours earlier than Pacific Time.
Thalo Green scored a career-high 20 points against American, the first 20-point game by a Husky player this season ... The Huskies are playing in their third straight regular-season tournament. They won the 1998 Big Island Invitational and were fifth at the 1999 Great Alaska Shootout ... Senior forward Will Perkins has four double-doubles. No UW player registered a double-double last season ... Bob Bender posted his 100th win at Washington on Wednesday and ranks fourth all-time at the school. Only Hec Edmundson (488), Marv Harshman (246) and Tippy Dye (156) won more games as the Husky head coach ... For the third straight season, Washington dispatched the host school in a tournament. UW beat Hawaii-Hilo in the first round of the 1998 Big Island Invitational and defeated Alaska-Anchorage in the 1999 Great Alaska Shootout ... Thalo Green became the first Husky to post a 20-point game this season, scoring 20 against American on Wednesday ... The team that registered the higher shooting percentage from the field won all seven UW games this season ... Washington had a player register double-figure rebounds five times this season. Last year, UW players accounted for only seven double-figure rebound efforts during the entire campaign.
Injury Report: The status of UW players for the next game:
o Probable- Will Perkins, Missed practice all week while battling a virus that was first discovered Saturday after the Florida International game. Played only 10 minutes in Wednesday's game against American.
o Probable- Bryan Brown, Bruised his thigh during practice this week and was limted to 16 minutes in Wednesday's game against American.
o Out - DeMarcus Williams, Sidelined since the exhibition opener with a sore right plantar fascia (foot). Also has a sore back and will likely apply for a medical red-shirt.
The Alabama Series:
> Washington and Alabama have never played each other in men's basketball.
> The Huskies have a 3-4 all-time record against Southeastern Conference opponents: Florida (1-1), Kentucky (0-1), LSU (1-2) and Mississippi State (1-0).
> Third-year Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried, who was an assistant coach at UCLA under Jim Harrick, has never competed against UW as a head coach.
> In his eighth season at UW, Bob Bender has never coached against Alabama.
The Season So Far:
Coach Bob Bender posted his 100th win at Washington with a 67-47 victory on Wednesday over American in the first round of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. UW began its current four-game road trip with a 63-61 victory at Florida International (Dec. 16) on Greg Clark's late basket. The Huskies fell to Saint Louis 69-61 in their last home game (Dec. 5). Washington achieved a split on its first road trip of the season, winning 69-66 at Wichita State (Nov. 30) before an 86-74 loss at Gonzaga (Dec. 2). UW capped a three-game homestand with a 94-63 victory over Portland State (Nov. 28), registering the most points in its last 67 games and its largest margin of victory (31 points) in 61 games. The Huskies returned to their on-campus venue in triumphant fashion on Nov. 25, defeating New Mexico State 81-77. Washington played all of its home games last season, and this year's season opener, at KeyArena in downtown Seattle. UW opened the season with a 73-61 loss to Texas-El Paso (Nov. 21). The season-opening, three-game homestand was a welcome change for the Huskies who were on the road for the first 22 days of the 1999-2000 season. They played their first six games on the road last season and didn't play in Seattle until Dec. 13. Washington won both of its exhibition games this season, rallying for an 83-81 overtime victory at Seattle Pacific (Nov. 10) before beating Brewster Packing 84-80 (Nov. 14).
Last UW Game:
UW 67, American-Puerto Rico 47 (Dec. 20, 2000, Bayamon, P.R.) - Bob Bender became the fourth coach to reach the 100-win plateau at Washington which defeated host American University-Puerto Rico 67-47 in a first-round Puerto Rico Holiday Classic matchup at the Guerra Sports Complex. Thalo Green scored a career-high 20 points for the Huskies (5-3). He hit 7-of-9 shots from the field, including his only 3-point attempt, to become the first UW player to register a 20-point game this season. Washington scored the game's first nine points en route to a 35-23 halftime advantage. The Huskies replicated that feat, opening the second half with nine unanswered points. Green capped the run with a hook shot and free throw, pushing the margin to 44-23 with 16:47 left in the game. The NCAA Division II Pirates (1-3) rallied to trim the deficit to 48-40 on a free throw by Ivan Rios with 9:48 remaining. Sparking the rally was a full-court press that forced 11 Husky turnovers during a six-minute span. American held UW scoreless for a 4:15 stretch during a 19-4 streak. Washington responded to the Pirates' surge with a 13-3 run, capped by a layin from senior forward Greg Clark at 6:09 that extended the lead to a comfortable 60-43. Clark finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, all in the second half. He led a 45-27 rebounding advantage for the Huskies. The UW defense limited American to 28-percent shooting from the field (14-of-51). The Pirates missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts. UW's season leading scorer, senior forward Will Perkins, compiled seven points and six rebounds in only 10 minutes due to a virus.
Hoopsters Honor CW:
Like their football counterparts, the Husky basketball team is wearing patches on their jerseys to support senior Curtis Williams who suffered a spinal cord injury during an Oct. 28 football game at Stanford. The UW basketball players will display the initials 'CW' to honor Williams who is in a San Jose, Calif. rehabilitation center.
Senior forward Will Perkins registered double-doubles in four of Washington's first eight games. No Husky player recorded a double-double during the entire season last year. Perkins had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Texas-El Paso (Nov. 21) followed by a 14-point, 10-rebound performance against New Mexico State (Nov. 25) and an 11-point, 12-rebound outing against Portland State (Nov. 28). The Omaha, Nebraska native had his three-game double-double streak stopped at Wichita State (Nov. 30) as he had a team-high 16 points, but only five rebounds. He rebounded with an 18-point, 11-board effort at Gonzaga (Dec. 2). Perkins leads the team in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounds (8.4 rpg) while shooting 53 percent (41-78). Last year, he led the Huskies in rebounds (5.9 rpg), field goal percentage (47.9%) and blocks (39).
Hair Raising Experience:
Senior forward Thalo Green avoided the barber's shears for 16 months before taking his place in the chair at the Montlake Cut barbershop on July 12, 2000. Green had his hair cut for the first time since March of 1999 and donated his hair to the Wigs for Kids, a national, non-profit organization that solicits donations in an effort to provide relief for children in situations of hair loss. Hair donations are woven into wigs and given to children affected by hair loss due to chemotherapy, burns and other medical conditions. 'I'm in a position, playing basketball at Washington, to give exposure and promote the Wigs for Kids program,' Green explains. 'I decided to grow my hair out throughout the whole season and try to raise awareness for the program. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something good for a good cause.' Green regularly drew taunts from spectators at opposing arenas last season as his curly, red hair frequently flopped into his eyes and eventually required a headband to control it. That shaggy coif was in stark contrast to his sophomore season in 1998-99 when Green's head was almost completely shaven.
Sonics & Sons:
Two former Seattle SuperSonics have sons on the 2000-01 Washington basketball roster. The former NBA players (and sons) are: Fred Brown (Bryan) and Lonnie Shelton (Marlon). A graduate of Iowa, Fred Brown was the Sonics' all-time leading scorer with 14,018 points. That record was broken this season by Gary Payton. Brown played his entire 13-year NBA career (1972-84) in Seattle and was a 1976 all-star. Bryan wears the same jersey No. 32 that his father had retired by the Sonics. Shelton was a 1975 All-Pac-8 Conference selection at Oregon State. He played 10 NBA seasons (1977-86) and was a 1982 all-star. Shelton played from 1979-83 in Seattle. Brown and Shelton were members of Seattle's 1979 NBA Championship squad. Two other former sons of Sonics were on the team in 1999, Donald Watts (father Slick) was a four-year letterman and walk-on Michael Westphal (father Paul) left after his freshman year. An additional tie to the Sonics is first-year Husky assistant coach Al Hairston who played with Seattle's NBA team in 1969 and 1970.
The Huskies have accumulated thousands of air miles on lengthy road trips during the last four years. This season is no different as they make a 10-day, 7,658-mile round trip to Puerto Rico with a stopover in Miami, Fla. for one game against Florida International. Washington traveled nearly 10,000 air miles during a two-week span last year, flying from Seattle to Moraga, Calif. (782 miles), from Moraga to Anchorage, Ak. (2,227) and from Alaska back to Seattle (1,445). After two days at home, the Huskies boarded a plane for Wilmington, N.C. (2,460) where they took a bus to Norfolk, Va. and flew back to Seattle (2,585). During the 1998-99 season, UW amassed over 8,000 miles during a 10-day stretch, traveling from Seattle to Hawai'i to Chicago and back to Seattle. In 1998, Washington traveled to South Alabama for a single game. Later that year the Huskies criss-crossed the country twice during the 1998 NCAA Tournament. UW flew from Seattle to Washington, D.C. for the first two rounds, returned to Seattle for one day and flew to Greensboro, N.C. for the Sweet 16.
Home Sweet Home:
The Huskies returned to their on-campus basketball venue after a one-season absence. They are playing home games at Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The Pavilion underwent a 19-month renovation from March of 1999 to November of 2000. The interior was completely redesigned while the building's exterior went unchanged. Despite an increased seating capacity from 7,900 to approximately 10,000, the arena possesses a more intimate, basketball-only configuration. The Huskies have won 748 games in the Pavilion since it opened on Dec. 27, 1927, more victories than any other school in its current arena. Washington compiled a 47-9 record in its final four seasons (1996-99) at the old Pavilion before playing last season at KeyArena in downtown Seattle during renovations.
Bob Bender has participated in the NCAA Tournament at every school with which he has been affiliated, including back-to-back berths with Washington in 1998 and 1999. He has an eight-year record of 100-107 with the Huskies. The UW tied for eighth in the Pac-10 with a 5-13 record in 2000 and had a 10-20 overall record that snapped a string of four consecutive winning seasons. In 1999, Washington was 17-12, capped by an NCAA Tournament appearance. The 1998 Huskies posted a 20-10 record that marked the school's finest winning percentage since 1985. Among the 1998 Husky highlights were their first 20-win season since 1987, their first NCAA berth since 1986 and their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1984. The 1997 UW team posted a 17-11 record, capped by the Huskies' second straight National Invitation Tournament appearance. Washington's record improved four straight seasons under Bender, including a 16-12 mark in 1996 after which he was voted the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. The UW was 5-22 in 1994 and 10-17 in 1995. His 100 victories rank fourth among all-time Washington coaches. Bender, who began his career with a four-year stint at Illinois State (1990-93), has a 12-year career record of 160-164. His Illinois State squads were 60-57, earning two Missouri Valley Conference championships, one conference tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth in 1990. Prior to his inaugural head coaching assignment at ISU, Bender served as an assistant on Mike Krzyzewski's Duke staff (1983-1989). The Blue Devils qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Bender's six seasons on the staff, including four trips to the Final Four. Bender, 43, is the only individual to play on two different teams in the NCAA Championship game. He was a freshman on Bobby Knight's undefeated 1976 Indiana team and played point guard at Duke from 1977-80, including an appearance in the 1978 title game against Kentucky.
Bob Bender's staff is comprised of associate head coach Byron Boudreaux along with assistant coaches Eric Hughes and Al Hairston. Boudreaux begins his sixth season on the staff, his second as the associate. Hughes has been with Bender during his entire seven-year tenure at UW. Hairston, a former Seattle Sonic and legendary prep coach at Seattle's Garfield High School, begins his first season. He replaces Jason Hamilton who left to pursue interests outside of coaching.