Washington returns to Utah for tonight’s 6 p.m. game at Huntsman Center marking the second time the Utes have played host to the Huskies since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
The Utah-Colorado road trip is considered by many Pac-12 coaches as the most difficult trip in the conference due to the long travel, the necessary flight between games in Salt Lake City and Boulder, Colo., the cold climate, the altitude and the packed arenas. And one more thing, both teams are pretty good this season.
THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:
— It’s a homecoming for UW star C.J. Wilcox, who grew up in nearby Pleasant Grove, UT.
— Wilcox told the Salt Lake Tribune: “It’s always great to come home and see my family and friends. Coming back to Salt Lake is always special for me, and this is my last time, so I want to cherish it. At the same time, this is a business trip for us. We’re looking at this as a game we have to get, so it’s like any other game. Utah’s a good team, so we have to come in and play well.”
— Utah isn’t thinking about seeking revenge after a 59-57 defeat at Washington in January, the Utes are more concerned about just getting a win.
— Arizona, which dropped to No. 2 in the national rankings, will play its first full game Thursday against Oregon since sophomore star Brandon Ashley suffered a season-ending foot injury. It’s going to be a big adjustment for the Wildcats who are expected to lean heavily on reserves Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Gabe York to replace Ashley.
— Tough task for Oregon, which has to deal with Arizona while also peeking at postseason projections that have them sliding out of the NCAA tournament.
— It would help the Ducks if leading scorer Joseph Young would break out of shooting slump.
— Coaches are creatures of habit who complain a lot. Oregon coach Dana Altman is griping about the amount of Sunday games for the Ducks.
— Jahii Carson verbally committed to play at Oregon State when he was a high school sophomore. The Beavers thought he would be the next Gary Payton. However, the Mesa, Ariz. native changed his mind and picked Arizona State where he’s become a star. OSU coach Craig Robinson told the Oregonian: “It was going to be hard to keep him. We were just early. It was fun while it lasted.”
— Askia Booker scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half and Xavier Johnson added 20 points for Colorado, which held on to defeat Washington State 68-63. The Buffaloes saw its 19-point second-half lead shrink to three before Booker hit a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left. CU improved to 17-6, 6-4 Pac-12.
— DaVonte Lacy had a career-high 34 points to lead Washington State, including two 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds to pull his team within three points. The Cougars (9-13, 2-8) remain winless in five conference road games.
— Dwight Powell had his third double-double in five games, Chasson Randle had another big scoring night and Anthony Brown scored 11 points in the final 10 minutes to help Stanford beat California 80-69. Powell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Randle added 19 points and Brown finished with 16 points and six rebounds for the Cardinal (15-7, 6-4 Pac-12), who have won three of the last four in this series between the two Bay Area rivals.