Washington and Xavier will meet Friday in Las Vegas for a semifinal-round matchup of the Continental Tire Main Event, both looking to rebound from losses.
Washington (2-1) is coming off an 83-76 defeat at home last Sunday against Nevada. The Huskies dug an 11-point hole at halftime versus the Wolf Pack, which proved insurmountable.
Washington coach Mike Hopkins said in his weekly press conference on Monday he was “more optimistic after watching the game” on film, however.
Keion Brooks Jr. recorded a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double in the loss and Sahvir Wheeler finished with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.
The meeting with Nevada was Washington’s second in a row to open the season against an opponent that appeared in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. The Huskies beat Northern Kentucky on Nov. 9, 75-67.
Xavier (2-1) marks Washington’s third NCAA Tournament-qualifying opponent in a row, and the Huskies will see another in either Saint Mary’s or 2023 national runner-up San Diego in Sunday’s final day of the Main Event.
“Four of your first five games are tough games, and that’s what we wanted,” Hopkins said. “Now we’ve got to knock some of these off to fulfill our goals. When you play these type of teams, it gets you ready for your league.”
Xavier arrives in Las Vegas removed from an 83-71 loss at No. 2 Purdue in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Desmond Claude led four Musketeers in double-figures scoring with 15 points.
Gytis Nemeiksa, Trey Green and Dailyn Swain each scored 10 points, but Xavier could not overcome Purdue’s shooting from the floor for the Boilermakers.
Dayvion McKnight, who finished with eight points, five assists and three steals at Purdue, could be a key for the Musketeers in Las Vegas. He is coming off a performance that Xavier coach Sean Miller praised as especially promising.
“It’s the best game Dayvion has played for us,” Miller told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “[Against Purdue], Dayvion was the point guard we want him to be.”
–Field Level Media
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