Huskies Play Host to Trojans

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Times Staff Writer

Andy Russo, Washington’s basketball coach, didn’t know what to expect this season.

“Our team logo ought to be a giant question mark,” Russo said before the season.

And midway through the season, the Huskies remain a mystery.

After raising expectations with early-season victories over DePaul and Memphis State, the Huskies, who will play host to USC tonight, lost 5 straight.

The low point was a 55-point loss at Arizona, worst in Washington history. “The Arizona game was the first time ever in my life when I can ever recall where I wanted to quit in the middle of a game,” Eldridge Recasner, junior guard, told the Associated Press. “It was pretty demoralizing.”

And it didn’t get better. The Huskies lost by 31 points to Arizona State, setting another school record for futility by allowing 121 points.


“The Arizona trip was a blow to us,” Russo said. “It was like we were sailing right along and we didn’t run into a hurdle, we ran into a mountain. Psychologically, it really did a lot of damage to us.”

And Russo, who has 2 years remaining on a 5-year contract, came under fire in the Seattle media.

“I’d be lying if I said that the things that have been written and said don’t bother me a little bit,” Russo said. “But I can’t let that affect what we’re doing.”

The criticism has eased recently because the Huskies have won 3 of their last 5.

The resurgence has been led by forward Dion Brown and Recasner. Brown, a 6-foot 5-inch sophomore from L.A. Crenshaw High, is averaging 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds. Recasner, 6-2, is averaging 16.2 points, 4.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds. Washington is 6-9 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10. USC is 7-10 and 0-6.

Although the Trojans are the only winless team in the Pac-10, USC Coach George Raveling remains optimistic.

“If we could just get 1 win under our belt, we could get a winning streak going,” Raveling said. “We’ve got enough games left that we could still finish the season with a winning record. . . . “


USC’s biggest flaw has been an inability to win close games. The Trojans have lost 5 games by 5 points or fewer, most recently to Arizona State last Saturday, 67-62.

Trojan Notes

Guard Anthony Pendleton, USC’s leading scorer, has missed 6 of 7 shots in the Trojans’ last 2 games. After averaging 16.9 points in the season’s first 15 games, Pendleton has a total of 4 points in the last 2. . . . USC will play at Washington State Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised by Channel 2.