UW Men Conclude Three-Game Basketball Road Trip

Dec. 7, 2001

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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8 -
UW at New Mexico State, 6:00 p.m. PST (7:00 p.m. MST)

Pan American Center (13,071), Las Cruces, N.M.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11 -
UW vs. Gonzaga, 7:30 p.m. PST (Fox Sports Net TV)

Bank of America Arena (10,000), Seattle, Wash.

Off to their best start in four years, the Washington Huskies (5-2) conclude a three-game road trip on Saturday, Dec. 8 at New Mexico State (4-2). Tip-off is 6 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Mountain Time) at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M. Washington won the last meeting, beating the Aggies 81-77 last season in Seattle. The Huskies split their first two games on the current road trip, defeating San Diego 98-94 (Dec. 1) before sustaining their second loss of the season by a 74-62 count on Thursday at Texas-El Paso. The only other UW loss was a 67-64 decision against Butler (Nov. 18) in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Ak. Washington's current 5-2 mark is its best start since the 1997-98 squad opened with a 6-1 record en route to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. The youthful Huskies, who have nine athletes competing for the first time at UW, play six of their first eight games on the road. They return home for the first time in nearly two weeks to host Gonzaga on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Bank of America Arena for the game that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net.

TV/Radio Coverage
Saturday's game at New Mexico State will not be televised. Tuesday's (Dec. 11) UW-Gonzaga game will be televised live at 7:30 p.m. PST on Fox Sports Net. Barry Tompkins calls the action with color commentary from Dan Belluomini. 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/

Block Party
The Huskies have blocked at least five shots in six of seven games this season after reaching the five-block plateau in only five games all last season. Washington has 42 blocked shots this season, an average of 6.0 blocks per game. The 1993 Husky squad averaged 4.37 blocks en route to the school's season record of 118. Nearly one in every four shots Santa Clara attempted on Nov. 24 was rejected as Washington shattered its school single-game record with 14 blocked shots. The Huskies bettered their record of 10 blocks established on Dec. 3, 1991 against Chico State. The leading shot blocker was senior center David Dixon whose seven blocks broke the individual UW record of six blocks accomplished twice by Chris Welp in 1986. Five different Huskies had blocks against Santa Clara. Dixon currently leads the team with 19 blocked shots and Jeffrey Day has 12.

Bender is Back
Men's basketball coach Bob Bender returned to the Washington bench Nov. 17 against Bowling Green and has been patrolling the sidelines for the last six games. He missed the Nov. 15 regular-season opening game at Alaska Fairbanks due to a bruised rib that kept him in Seattle. Bender arrived in Fairbanks on Friday afternoon (Nov. 16), during an off-day for the Huskies. Bender was scheduled to fly to Fairbanks with the team on Wednesday morning, but was at University of Washington Medical Center instead undergoing tests. He slipped and fell outside his house on Nov. 12 and developed severe back pain. Bender was diagnosed with a bruised rib on Nov. 14 and released that afternoon. The team arrived in Fairbanks on Wednesday afternoon. Bender spoke to the team via speakerphone on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 15) and expressed his regrets about missing the game. Bender is in his ninth season at Washington, having compiled a 110-1261 record. His 110 victories rank No. 4 among all-time UW coaches.

Projected Husky Starting Lineup
Washington Huskies (5-1, 0-0 in Pac-10)

Pos.-No. Name          Hgt. Wgt. Yr.  Hometown      Points   Rebs. 
F - 24 Doug Wrenn 6-8 220 So. Seattle, Wash. 17.5 6.8
F - 31 Grant Leep 6-7 230 Sr. Mount Vernon, Wash. 7.3 3.9
C - 50 David Dixon 6-11 270 Sr. Houston, Texas 9.9 8.1
G - 20 Curtis Allen 6-0 170 So. Tacoma, Wash. 13.6 *4.6
G - 21 Erroll Knight 6-7 205 Fr. Seattle, Wash. 8.9 2.9


* = assist average

The New Mexico State Series
> The Huskies took a 2-1 edge in the all-time series with an 81-77 win over New Mexico State last season in Seattle. Washington won the first meeting 73-53 on Dec. 19, 1999 in Seattle and New Mexico State claimed a 79-75 overtime decision on Dec. 30, 2000 during the only previous meeting in Las Cruces.

> The UW has a 6-5 all-time record against teams from the Sun Belt Conference.

> Aggie Coach Lou Henson has a 2-3 record against Washington, the first two meetings occurring while he was at Illinois. His Illini squad defeated the Huskies 76-55 on Dec. 7, 1991 in Champaign and 81-68 on Dec. 30, 1977 at the Far West Classic in Portland, Ore.

> Washington's Bob Bender has a 2-1 record as a coach against New Mexico State and Lou Henson. Bender coached at Illinois State from 1989-1993 while Henson coached at Illinois but they never met head-to-head during that period.

The Last Meeting
UW 81, New Mexico State 77 (Nov. 25, 2000, Seattle) -

Senior forward Thalo Green scored a career-high 17 points in his return from knee surgery, helping Washington defeat New Mexico State 81-77 in the inaugural game at the newly renovated Bank of America Arena. Green, playing for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Nov. 1, scored 15 points in the second half as the Huskies (1-1) extended a 30-28 halftime margin to as many as 12 points. The UW lead was 70-58 with 2:47 left in the game before the Aggies (1-3) scored five straight points. The Huskies made only 11-of-24 free throws over the final 2:12, enabling New Mexico State to draw within 78-77 on a Brandon Mason 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds remaining. Will Perkins and Bryan Brown each missed a pair of free throws, but UW rebounded both times. Michael Johnson converted 1-of-2 free throws with 2.2 seconds left, pushing the lead to 79-77. The subsequent in-bounds pass was thrown out of bounds the length of the court by the Aggies and Greg Clark secured the win with two free throws with 1.3 seconds left. Perkins posted his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson scored 15 points for UW. Eric Channing paced NMSU with 24 points and James Moore added 13. NMSU hit 24-of-38 free throws, scoring nearly as many points from the line as the Huskies in 11 fewer tries.

Notable
Washington lost Thursday at UTEP despite season-high totals in 3-pointers (9) and rebounds (48) ... UW recorded season-low totals at UTEP in points (62), field goal shooting (35.9%), steals (1) and blocked shots (1) ... The Huskies' 98-point performance at San Diego (Dec. 1) was their highest scoring output in 109 games, dating back to a 101-86 win at USC on Jan. 29, 1998 ... At 5-2, Washington is off to its best start since the 1997-98 team had a 6-1 record en route to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance ... Texas-El Paso became the first opponent to register a superior field goal percentage to the Huskies who outshot their first six opponents from the field ... Washington has held all of its foes under 48 percent shooting from the field ... Washington topped the 50-percent field goal plateau in three games this season after shooting 50 percent on only five occasions all last season ... The Huskies are shooting 73.2 percent from the free throw line (139-190), a drastic improvement from last season's 57.5-percent figure (355-617) that ranked last in the Pac-10. Sophomore Curtis Allen has converted 32-of-34 free throws (94%) ... The Huskies won their home opener on Nov. 24, defeating Santa Clara 69-49. That improved their all-time record in home openers to 81-18. It was the 99th all-time home opener for UW which did not play any home games during the 1905 season ... Four Huskies received all-tournament honors at the Top of the World Classic: Curtis Allen, David Dixon, Erroll Knight and tournament MVP Doug Wrenn ... Washington reached the 80-point plateau in three games this season, equaling last season's team that scored 80 points on three occasions ... On Nov. 15 Erroll Knight scored a UW freshman debut record 23 points. He topped the mark of 22 points set by Deon Luton on Nov. 26, 1996 in his collegiate debut against BYU ... The Huskies blocked a school single-game record 14 shots against Santa Clara (Nov. 24), bettering by four the UW record of 10 blocks established on Dec. 3, 1991 ... Nine of the 15 players on the roster had never played a game at Washington prior to this season ... Washington played the season opener without the services of head coach Bob Bender or sophomore forward Doug Wrenn. During that Nov. 15 opening game, Bender was in Seattle nursing a bruised rib while Wrenn was serving a one-game suspension for a minor NCAA violation.

Player of the Week
Sophomore point guard Curtis Allen, who improved his career-high scoring total during consecutive games last week, was named the Pacific-10 Conference men's basketball Player of the Week, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced Monday. A product of Tacoma's Wilson High School, Allen averaged 24.0 points and 6.0 assists in a pair of Husky wins. He tallied 21 points and distributed a career-high eight assists on Nov. 28 in Washington's 77-64 home victory over UNLV. At San Diego on Dec. 1, Allen increased his single-game scoring best to 27 points and added four assists in UW's 98-94 win. Allen currently ranks second on the team with a 13.6-point scoring average, the seventh-best figure among conference players. He is listed fifth among Pac-10 playmakers, averaging 4.6 assists per contest. For the season, Allen is shooting 54.3 percent from the field to rank eighth in the Pac-10. He ranks sixth among conference competitors with 50-percent accuracy (13-of-26) from 3-pont range. Allen is converting free throws at a 94-percent clip (32-of-34) to rank fourth in the Pac-10. This is the first time Allen has received the weekly conference honor and the first time a Washington player has been honored since Feb. 8, 1999 when Deon Luton was the Pac-10 Player of the Week.

Amazing Allen
Arguably the quickest player in the conference, sophomore point guard Curtis Allen is improving upon last season's performance when he was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshmen team. His playmaking skills have improved dramatically. Allen was the Huskies' team leader in assists during six of seven games with a total of 32, an average of 4.6 per game. Last season he distributed 65 assists, an average of 2.2 per contest. His shooting is also vastly better. Allen is shooting 54 percent from the field (25-46), including 50 percent from 3-point range (13-26). Those are improvements from his 39-percent and 25-percent figures from last year. His 13 made 3-pointers are just seven fewer than the 20 he had all last season. Allen posted a career-high 21 points and eight assists against UNLV (Nov. 28). He increased the point total to 27 in the next game at San Diego (Dec. 1). Last season, he had one of the finest campaigns for a Husky rookie, ranking third among all-time UW freshmen in steals (29) and No. 4 in assists (65).

Less is More
Fans will be seeing a lot less of 6-foot-11 senior center David Dixon this season. He shed over 30 pounds from last year and his current 270-pound weight enables him to be more active and average 28.7 minutes per game. Last season, Dixon played 14.7 minutes per contest and averaged 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. He has been more effective this year, leading the team with 8.1 rebounds per game while ranking third with a 9.9-point scoring average. Dixon blocked a school-record seven shots against Santa Clara (Nov. 24), bettering the single-game mark of six accomplished by Chris Welp during the 1986 season. Dixon tallied double-figure points in four games and posted his first double-double on Nov. 18 with a 15-point, 13-rebound effort against Butler.

Hoopsters Honor Erickson
The Washington basketball players are wearing a black patch on the front of their jerseys with the initials 'D.E.' They are wearing those in remembrance of Dick Erickson, a friend of the basketball program who died in July. Erickson was involved for nearly 50 years with UW athletics. He participated as an athlete then a coach with the Husky rowing team before serving as the Facilities Manager for the athletic department. Erickson was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame on two occasions, in 1984 as part of the 1958 national championship crew and in 1994 as the head coach of the men's crew from 1968-82.

Dynamic Debut
Freshman guard Erroll Knight's collegiate debut was delayed, but it was worth the wait. Knight amassed a team-high 23 points at Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 15, the highest point total for a freshman in a debut game at Washington. He eclipsed the record of 22 points set by Deon Luton against Brigham Young on Nov. 26, 1996. Knight underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left knee on Nov. 2. He had swelling in his knee during preseason practice and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on Oct. 30 that revealed a loose fragment of cartilage. The projected rehabilitation time was approximately three weeks, but Knight returned to practice on Nov. 12. He played 28 minutes in his inaugural collegiate outing, hitting 9-of-16 shots from the field that included 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range. That was the collegiate debut for Knight who did not play in either of UW's exhibition games. Knight started the last six UW games and ranks fourth on the team with an 8.9-point scoring average. He was named to the Top of the World Classic all-tournament team. Knight was one of the nation's premier prep shooting guards last year. The athletic 6-7 swingman averaged 19.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a senior at Seattle's Chief Sealth High School. He was a consensus top-100 national prep pick by the recruiting services, including Prep-West Hoops which ranked him as the No. 2 shooting guard in the West.

Doug's Debut
One of the most eagerly anticipated debuts in Husky history was that of sophomore Doug Wrenn, a supremely athletic 6-8 forward who red-shirted last season after transferring from Connecticut. Wrenn fulfilled expectations with a 19-point, nine-rebound performance against Bowling Green (Nov. 17) in his inaugural Husky game. He followed that with a 10-point, six-rebound effort against Butler (Nov. 18) and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Top of the World Classic. Wrenn leads the team with an average of 17.5 points per game, including a season-high 22-point effort in the home opener against Santa Clara (Nov. 24). He topped all Husky scorers on four occasions. Wrenn did not participate in the Nov. 15 regular-season opener against Alaska-Fairbanks while serving a one-game suspension due to a minor NCAA rules violation. He played in an unsanctioned competition during May in violation of an NCAA rule prohibiting Division I student-athletes from participating in outside competition during the academic year. Wrenn played three minutes in the Emerald City All-Star Tournament at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School. Three players from other NCAA Division I schools participated in the same tournament and were held out of one game as well. A 1998 Parade All-American and Washington state prep Player of the Year, Wrenn sat out last season at UW after transferring from Connecticut. He was projected by Basketball News as the Pac-10's top newcomer. Wrenn, who prepped at Seattle's O'Dea High School, attended two East Coast prep schools in 1998-99 and played at UConn in 1999-2000.

Husky Talk
Tune in to KOMO (1000 AM) every Monday night at 6 p.m. for 'Husky Talk,' a half-hour call-in and interview show featuring head coach Bob Bender and KOMO Radio's Bob Rondeau who does play-by-play for all UW games.

Last Husky Game
Texas-El Paso 74, UW 62 (Dec. 6, 2001, El Paso, Texas) -

Eugene Costello scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, including a 3-pointer during the decisive run as Texas-El Paso defeated Washington 74-62 at the Don Haskins Center. Each team held six point leads in the first half before UW's Josh Barnard hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the halftime score at 36-36. The Miners (3-4) broke a 41-41 tie with an 11-2 run during a 2:50 span. Costello had a trey and capped the surge with an assist on Nick Enzweiler's 3-pointer that put UTEP ahead for good 52-43 with 14:23 left to play. Washington (5-2) never drew closer than six points after that point. Roy Smallwood led the Miners with 15 points while Brian Stewart had 13 and Justino Victoriano 11. Doug Wrenn registered his first collegiate double-double with 19 points and 13 boards for UW which outrebounded UTEP 48-36. The Huskies shot 50 percent in the first half, including 7-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. They cooled off considerably after halftime, shooting just 26 percent and 2-for-9 on treys. For the game UW shot 36 percent and UTEP 48%. UTEP parlayed 15 UW turnovers directly into 22 points. UW's Grant Leep and Josh Barnard each tallied career-highs with 18 and 13 points, respectively.

2002 Season in Review
The Huskies finished second at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Ak. They defeated host Alaska Fairbanks 82-70 and Bowling Green 81-74 before losing in the championship game to Butler by a 67-64 count. Washington played the season opener without the services of head coach Bob Bender or sophomore forward Doug Wrenn. Bender was in Seattle nursing a bruised rib while Wrenn was serving a one-game suspension for a minor NCAA violation. UW won its home opener 69-49 over Santa Clara (Nov. 24) and blocked a school-record 14 shots in the process. The Huskies beat UNLV 7-64 in Seattle (Nov. 28) behind the career-high 21 point, eight-assist effort of Curtis Allen. Allen increased that career-high total to 27 points in the next outing, a 98-94 win at San Diego (Dec. 1) in which UW hit 37-of-43 free throws. UW lost 74-62 at UTEP (Dec. 6) in its last outing.

The Gonzaga Series
> Washington owns a 28-9 lead in the all-time series despite losing the last three meetings with Gonzaga.

> The Huskies have have a 17-3 record against the Zags in Seattle.

> Gonzaga won the last three encounters, defeating UW 86-74 last season at the Kennel in Spokane (Dec. 2, 2000), 76-66 on Dec. 13, 1999 in Seattle and 82-71 on Dec. 8, 1998 at the Spokane Arena.

> Prior to the current three-game losing streak against Gonzaga, the Huskies had won 12 of the 13 previous meetings in the series.

> Starting at point guard for the Zags is senior Dan Dickau, a transfer from Washington. Dickau transferred following the 1998-99 season. He was a member of two UW NCAA Tournament teams.

> Third-year Gonzaga coach Mark Few won his only two meetings against Washington as a head coach.

> In his ninth season at UW, Bob Bender has a 2-3 coaching record against Gonzaga.

The Last Meeting
Gonzaga 86, UW 74 (Dec. 2, 2000, Spokane, Wash.) -

Casey Calvary tallied 21 of his career-high 29 points in the second half, leading Gonzaga to an 86-74 win over Washington at the Kennel. Calvary fueled an 11-0 Bulldog run, scoring nine points over the opening 4:20 of the second half. Gonzaga (4-1), which trailed 41-40 at halftime, took the lead for good at 51-41 on the surge that concluded on Calvary's layin with 15:40 left in the game. The Huskies (3-2) missed their first nine shots of the second half before Will Perkins hit a layin with 15:28 remaining. Perkins posted his fourth double-double in five games with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Johnson scored 18 points for UW which also got 11 from Greg Clark. Freshman Blake Stepp had 17 points for the Bulldogs despite hitting only 1-of-8 shots from 3-point range. Gonzaga shot 54 percent from the field (31-57) while limiting UW to 40 percent (29-73).

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