By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — The last time the University of Washington men’s basketball team was on a basketball court with rival Oregon, the Huskies spent two hours getting run out of Matthew Knight Arena.
Tuesday night, in the friendly combines of Hec Edmundson Pavilion, the Huskies will get another chance to try and compete.
Oregon (24-9) had five players score 15 points or more on the way to a 108-97 win over Iowa in a National Invitational Tournament second-round game Sunday, setting up a rubber match with UW. The Ducks and Huskies, who split during the regular season, will tip off just after 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“We have a tough challenge ahead of us,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said in a statement Sunday night. “The last time we played them, they were terrific. We have been watching them ever since and they have been on a roll. They are playing extremely good basketball. This is a game where we have a chance to go to New York – we are both fighting for that. It should be a great ballgame.”
The winner of Tuesday’s game heads to New York City to be among four teams competing in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. UW (23-10) played at Madison Square Garden during a preseason tournament in early December — the Huskies lost to ranked teams Marquette and Duke — but has never been there for an NIT.
Multiple UW players said after Friday night’s win over Northwestern that they were hoping for a rematch with the Ducks, who beat the Huskies 82-57 in Eugene on Feb. 9. When UW freshman Tony Wroten Jr. was asked Friday about the possibility of playing Oregon again, he said, “We’ll come out pumped and ready. They pretty much embarrassed us last time, in Eugene, so it’ll be about revenge.”
Oregon is 8-2 over its last 10 games, beginning with the Feb. 9 win over UW. The Ducks jumped out to a 49-26 lead in that game and never looked back.
Oregon is led by junior E.J. Singler but also relies on five seniors as one of the most experienced teams in the Pacific-12 Conference. Freshman Brett Kingma, a former star at Jackson High School, plays limited minutes for the Ducks and has appeared in just two of Oregon’s last nine games.