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Huskies hope to reverse slump vs. No. 8 Arizona

Huskies hope to reverse slump vs. No. 8 Arizona

SEATTLE (AP) Washington picked the wrong time to go into a slide.

Losing three straight at any point of the Pac-12 Conference season is concerning. This skid by the Huskies (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12) could be even more damaging because of the schedule that lies ahead, beginning on Thursday night when they host No. 8 Arizona.

It would be one thing if Washington's nosedive came against the elite of the Pac-12. But the first two setbacks of the Huskies' three-game losing streak came against Utah and Oregon State, neither of which had a conference victory before beating Washington.

And while the Huskies played well before falling at No. 10 Oregon last Saturday, the slide leaves them little room for error going forward if they want to stay in the conference race.

``We need a good quality win, especially at home,'' Washington guard C.J. Wilcox said. ``We need to get this done now.''

For most of Lorenzo Romar's tenure as the Huskies coach, rebounding from losses to avoiding long losing streaks has been a strength. Since starting the Pac-10 season 0-5 in 2004 - followed by a dramatic turnaround that was capped with an NCAA bid - Washington has not lost more than four straight in any season.

But they will need an upset of Arizona to avoid their first four-game losing streak in nearly five years. The last time the Huskies dropped four straight was midway through the 2007-08 season when they were on their way to finishing the year with a losing record.

It's been a dramatic turn for Washington just in the span of the past two weeks. The Huskies went from leaders of the Pac-12 to suddenly facing a daunting task which if not handled well could leave the Huskies looking at postseason options that don't include the NCAA or NIT tournaments.

After hosting Arizona, the Huskies host surging Arizona State, then hit the road for the Los Angeles schools before coming home to face Pac-12 leader Oregon on Feb. 13.

``It's a big week. We see it as must wins for ourselves,'' Washington guard Abdul Gaddy said. ``We need to come out and play with great intensity.''

The Huskies' slump came on the heels of a stunning start to conference play where Washington started 4-0 with three of the victories coming on the road. That quick start was due mostly to the Huskies defense that has become a liability in the three losses that followed.

After beating Colorado at home on Jan. 16, Washington was allowing just 56 points per game in conference play. In the last three games, they are giving up 76 and allowed the last three teams to shoot nearly 55 percent.

``I think our mentality is a lot of it,'' Wilcox said. ``We came out with energy against Oregon but the games before I don't know what it was. I don't think we took them lightly but that's kind of how we came out and we had to play from behind and we're not really good at doing that. So we have to jump on teams early.''

If nothing else, the matchup with Arizona should be entertaining. Only twice in the past 10 meetings has the game been decided by more than 10 points and three of the last four matchups have provided at least one unforgettable moment.

During the 2011 regular season in Tucson, Derrick Williams came across the lane to block Darnell Gant's game-winning shot attempt in the final seconds of Arizona's victory. Later that season in the Pac-10 tournament championship game, Isaiah Thomas hit a step-back 20-footer as time expired in overtime to give the Huskies a 77-75 win. And last season in Tucson, Washington's Tony Wroten blocked Josiah Turner's attempt at a tying layup as time expired to give the Huskies a 69-67 win.

Thursday night will be the first time a ranked opponent has stepped foot inside the Huskies' home gym since Texas A&M in December 2009.

``We need to play at our highest level,'' Romar said, ``and we need the crowd to be at its highest level. And I know what that highest level is like.''

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a recap of the first day of OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Yesterday, (Monday) was the first day of the Ravens' OTAs. OTAs continue today (Tuesday) as the Ravens work on developing a new offense. Check out some of the highlights here. 

2. The Baltimore Ravens have officially announced the full 90-man roster that will be competing for an official team roster spot in OTAs this summer. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jaxson Hayes

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jaxson Hayes

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jaxson Hayes

School: Texas
Position: Center
Age: 19
Height: 7-0
Weight: 219
Wingspan: 7-4
Max vertical: 34.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 2.2 bpg, 72.8 FG% (3.8/5.3), 00.0 3PT% (0.0/0.0), 74.0 FT%

Player comparison: Jarrett Allen, John Henson

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 10th, NBADraft.net 9th, Bleacher Report 10th, Sports Illustrated 9th, Ringer 10th

5 things to know:

*Hayes is considered the best center prospect in this year's class. He is athletic, plays with energy and measured in at the combine at about 7-feet in shoes with a 7-foot-4 wingspan. He can run the floor and play above the rim.

*The skill that stands out most for Hayes is rim protection. He averaged 2.2 blocks in only 23.3 minutes per game. That extrapulates to 5.7 blocks over 100 possessions. He has long arms and appears to have good instincts tracking the ball in the lane. He is following in the footsteps of fellow Texas shot-blockers before him like Myles Turner and Jarrett Allen. The latter may be the best player comparison for Hayes in today's NBA.

*Hayes is not considered a very good rebounder. He averaged 5.0 per game and only once reached double figures. It could be that he just needs to add some weight, an issue that is correctable but would hurt him even more at the NBA level initially. The worst-case concern is that he is soft and won't do the necessary dirty work.

*At this point, Hayes offers nothing in the way of an outside shot. He didn't attempt a single three-pointer in college and didn't do much on offense outside of dunks and putbacks. In order to justify being taken with a high draft pick, he will either need to develop a post game, an outside shot or be extremely good on defense. His lack of an all-round game will certainly give some teams pause in evaluating him.

*Hayes comes from a family of impressive athletes. His father played 12 seasons in the NFL and recently served as the tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. His mother played basketball at Drake University and later coached in college, including a stint as an assistant at Oklahoma. Hayes followed his father's footsteps by playing wide receiver in high school before a growth spurt made it clear basketball was the path to go.

Fit with Wizards: Hayes is one of the best fits for the Wizards among the players who could be available with the ninth pick. He does what they arguably lack the most, which is play defense and more specifically protect the rim.

The Wizards allowed the most field goals within five feet of any team this past season and the third-highest field goal percentage in that range. They desperately need someone who can block and alter shots.

Hayes would likely be the Wizards' best shot-blocker Day 1. But whether he can help them in other ways is a question at this point.

Hayes would represent a bit of a project for the Wizards and may not have All-Star potential because of his offensive limitations. Still, he remains one of their best options in the first round. Long-term, he could transform their defense and form a strong pick-and-roll partner for John Wall.

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