Red-hot No. 15 Oregon storms into Washington

SEATTLE — Oregon should take plenty of positive thoughts to Washington on Wednesday.

The Ducks have won 11 straight games to move up six spots to No. 15 in the AP Top 25 Poll. Oregon is coming off wins over No. 4 UCLA and No. 25 USC to open Pac-12 Conference play at 2-0.

The Ducks are also as healthy as they have been all season after senior center Chris Boucher returned to play against the Bruins and Trojans after missing two games due to a sprained ankle.

All-conference junior forward Dillon Brooks, who missed the first three games of the season and was on a minute-restriction when he returned, has been fully cleared and was named Pac-12 player of the week after averaging 25.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the wins over USC and UCLA.

Now Oregon hits the road for the first time in six weeks to visit Washington (7-6), which lost 79-74 at home to Washington State in its conference opener on Sunday.

Everything seems to favor Oregon except for the fact that none of the Ducks have ever won a game in Seattle or Pullman where they face Washington State on Saturday. Oregon was swept two years ago at UW and WSU did not visit the Washington schools last season.

“Now we have to go on the road to the Washington schools where we had two poor performances the year before last,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We’ve got to go and play. We don’t have a guy on the team who won at those schools, so we will have our work cut out for us.”

One advantage for the Ducks is that they last played on Friday while the Huskies have only two days to prepare for Oregon after playing on Sunday.

“We have a couple times where the schedule gets us like that, so you just have to go play,” Altman said. “They had a little more time at Christmas than we did. I would have liked to let the guys stay home on Christmas Day, but there was no way.”

Brooks has taken over the team lead with 14.8 points per game while Boucher is averaging 13.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. Junior forward Jordan Bell leads Oregon with 8.1 rebounds to go with 10.4 points and 2.3 blocks per game.

“We have so much room to grow into,” Altman said. “Our blockouts can get better, our transition defense can get better. The exciting thing is if our guys will focus and really trust each other they can get so much better in so many areas. Our ball movement and execution on offense can get better and that is an exciting thing. All the areas we can work through in January and February to get better.”

Washington had won three straight games against Western Michigan, Cal Poly, and Seattle before dropping its conference opener to the Cougars.

“Our next game is playing a team that was picked to win the league and a preseason Top 10 team,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Right now they are playing as good as anyone in the league. We certainly didn’t set ourselves up to come into the game with any momentum.”

Freshman guard Markelle Fultz had 26 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds in the loss to the Cougars. The 6-foot-4 point guard leads Washington with 22.3 points, 6.6 assists, and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Six-foot guard David Crisp is averaging 14.1 points while 6-8 forward Noah Dickerson is averaging 12.5 points and 8.7 rebounds.