No. 5 UCLA visits Washington amid Huskies’ COVID scare

NCAA

No. 5-ranked UCLA visits Pac-12 Conference counterpart Washington on Sunday in Seattle — if the host Huskies clear COVID-19 protocols.

Washington (4-4, 0-0 Pac-12) was to open conference play on Thursday at No. 11-ranked Arizona, but the game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns in the Huskies program.

The Los Angeles Times reported that seven Washington players and coaches tested positive, citing an anonymous source.

The Huskies lost the championship game of last week’s Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D., to Nevada, which played Pepperdine on Tuesday without head coach Steve Alford due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Washington returned home on Nov. 27 and dropped an 82-74 decision to Winthrop.

The Huskies were slated to face three straight top-11-ranked opponents in conference rivals Arizona and UCLA, and No. 3-ranked non-conference foe Gonzaga.

“I look at it as three great opportunities,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins told the Seattle Times.

Washington has struggled to find offensive consistency through its first eight games, shooting 39.3 percent.

The Huskies are averaging 10.0 offensive rebounds while opponents are grabbing an average of 10.5.

“We can look at the rebounds and second-chance points. We can make all the excuses in the world,” Washington’s Daejon Davis said following the loss to Winthrop. The Huskies gave up 12 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points.

UCLA (7-1, 1-0) pulled in 10 offensive rebounds in its conference-opening defeat of Colorado on Wednesday. The Bruins built a first-half lead of as many as 17 points, but the Buffs slashed the deficit to just four in the second.

UCLA rallied behind Tyger Campbell’s season-high 21 points to win 73-61.

“Some of their strategy was forcing him to shoot,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said after the game. “I like the fact that he didn’t even think twice because for us to become the team we can become, we get everybody healthy — Tyger’s got to be the guy who’s capable of that.”

The Bruins lost Jaime Jaquez Jr. early in the contest after he took a hard fall and hit his head.

Cronin said Jaquez passed concussion protocols, but the coach did not feel comfortable putting the 13.6-points per game scorer back into the lineup.

Jaquez is one of four Bruins averaging at least 12.6 points per game with Campbell, Jules Bernard at 14.0 points per game and Johnny Juzang at 17.1 points per game.

Juzang and Bernard both scored in double figures on Wednesday, along with Myles Johnson, who had a season-high 12 points in a double-double effort. Johnson’s 10 rebounds marked his third time on the campaign grabbing double-digit boards.

“Coach Cronin always pushes me to be the best player I can, and he definitely wants me to, on offense, be as aggressive as possible, try to score whenever I can,” Johnson said.

–Field Level Media

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