Arizona-Washington Men's Basketball Preview

Feb. 7, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona begins the second half of its Pac-10 schedule Thursday when it facesWashington at the McKale Center.

The No. 11 Wildcats (15-6, 7-2) trail Stanford by one game for theconference lead, but don't expect things to be easy when they face teams forthe second time.

'In the first round of conference play the teams rise to the top who areused to dealing with the pressure,' Arizona coach Lute Olson said. 'On thesecond time around, there are a lot more upsets because teams at the bottom ofthe league don't have the pressure on them anymore and the young players settleinto their roles.'

One of those teams is Washington (9-12, 3-6), which faces Arizona for thesecond time this season. The Wildcats posted an 89-64 rout in Seattle on Jan.13, as Loren Woods recorded the fifth triple-double in Arizona history and the13th in Pac-10 history with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. MichaelWright had 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Olson, who will coach the 850th game of his career, expects to see animproved Washington team on Thursday.

'They are much better then the first time we played them because they havechanged their starting lineup,' Olson said. 'It looks like they are playingwithin the roles that coach (Bob) Bender has asked them to play. Curtis Allenas a point guard is doing a good job of breaking down defenses. David Dixon isa guy who is a big guy who is getting better with each time out.'

The Huskies ended a three-game slide by beating Washington State 78-72Saturday. Allen had 18 points and five assists, while Dixon contributed 16points, six boards and five blocks. Thalo Green had a team-high 21 points.

'It was a big step for (Allen),' Bender said. 'All of the things he'sdoing now are the things upperclassmen start to do and he's a freshman. He'snot afraid to run the team.'

The matchup with the Wildcats marks the beginning of the Huskies' dreadedannual two-game road trip to the desert. Washington will play at Arizona Stateon Saturday, and the Huskies are a combined 2-23 on the road against the twoschools since 1989. Washington is 0-4 against ranked competition this season.

Arizona is coming off a 68-41 win at Oregon State on Saturday, its seventhvictory in eight games. Arizona shot a season-best 55.6 percent from the field.Freshman Travis Hanour, who Olson said will get more playing time, had acareer-high 11 points in 17 minutes.

Arizona leads the all-time series 31-15 and has won seven of the last eightmeetings.

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