SEATTLE – The first – and only – time the Washington men’s basketball team went on the road this year, the Huskies say they were like a deer in the headlights.
And did it ever show.
Washington traveled to Spokane and fell to Gonzaga 97-77 on Dec. 9. Take that game out, and the UW is winning games by an average of 17.4 points.
The Huskies say they’ve learned from that experience, and are better prepared to play away from Hec Edmundson Pavilion now. They’ll find out this weekend, as No. 14 Washington (10-1) opens Pacific-10 Conference play at USC (10-3) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and at No. 1 UCLA (11-0) at 2 p.m. Sunday.
” (Gonzaga) was a huge wake-up call for what the road’s like, and our guys have a better idea of what the road’s like,” power forward Jon Brockman said. “Going into this, they realize it’s not as easy as playing at home. You really have to bring your ‘A’ game. You can’t make mistakes, you can’t let the crowd affect you. I think our preparation will be a lot better than it was for the Gonzaga trip.”
If Gonzaga’s “Kennel” was unfamiliar to the Huskies, who have defeated the Trojans five-straight times, then USC’s Galen Center will be even more of an eye-opener. The arena is brand new and Washington will be the first conference opponent to play there. The Trojans are 8-1 in their new home, with the only loss coming in the season-opener to South Carolina.
The Huskies say that they are excited to see the new building but don’t expect the fact that they haven’t played there before to be an issue come game time. It will just take a little more time for some of the UW shooters, like Ryan Appleby, to get used to the backdrops.
“I’ll shoot from different spots on the floor (in shootaround),”