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Updated Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 09:46 PM

Huskies try to keep streak going against Seattle U

By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter

The big brother, little brother analogy makes Lorenzo Romar uncomfortable when describing Thursday's crosstown matchup between Washington and Seattle University.

Pay no attention to the Huskies' 23-4 lead in a series that began in 1953.

Disregard their seven-game winning streak and forget the fact that the last time they lost city bragging rights was during the 1978-79 season.

Back then the Redhawks were known as the Chieftains and Romar was a junior point guard for the Huskies.

The only record the UW coach is concerned about these days is in the win-loss columns.

"They're 3-3," he said. "We're 4-4. So I don't know who is better right now."

Maybe Romar engaged in a little coachspeak to hype up the opposing team. Or maybe he was being candid about Washington, which has been wildly inconsistent between halves and on both ends of the court.

Senior co-captain Abdul Gaddy might have summed up the Huskies best when he said: "We're really good at times and we're really bad at times."

The good Huskies destroyed Loyola Maryland 85-63 in the season opener. The bad Huskies lost three home games against mid-majors, including Saturday's 76-73 defeat to Nevada.

There's no telling which team will show up at KeyArena for the 7 p.m. tipoff.

Given Washington's recent struggles and the X-factor variable that comes with rivalry games, this could be the year when Seattle U snaps its losing streak against UW and turns the series into a bona-fide backyard brawl.

"Whether we beat them or they beat us, I don't know if that's going to be the biggest issue in terms of a rivalry," Romar said. "They keep getting better, I know that."

If last season's 91-83 UW victory is any indication, the Redhawks are closing the gap on the Huskies since the series renewed in 2009 after a 29-year layoff.

Seattle U lost by 21, 47 and 27 points in three previous games before it put a major scare in the Huskies last January. The Redhawks pulled to 84-81 before UW closed with a 7-2 run.

"They're trying to come and upset Washington," Gaddy said. "We don't really see it as an upset because we don't have really a great record, so we need to come out and get some wins.

"They're the next team we play against so we're looking to be successful in this game."

Romar acknowledged it would be a special achievement if SU coach Cameron Dollar were to beat Washington, considering Dollar spent a decade on Romar's staff and was at UW for seven years before taking the Redhawks job in 2009.

"I would imagine sooner or later it's going to happen," Romar said of a Redhawks victory over the Huskies. "We're going to keep playing them. ... I hope it's later."

There's no arguing Washington has more to lose in terms of prestige among fans and recruits and little to gain in defeating Seattle U, which begins its first year playing in the Western Athletic Conference.

Meanwhile, a Redhawks victory against the local Pac-12 team could be the catalyst to help build a program that hasn't been relevant in the NCAA since the 1970s.

Take for instance Washington's relationship with Gonzaga, another mid-major Jesuit school.

The Huskies dominated the Bulldogs, winning 28 of the first 34 games starting in 1910.

However, the series was discontinued after 2007 with the Zags winning eight of the last nine games and rising to a level where they've equaled and arguably surpassed UW in prominence and national reputation.

Romar believes the Huskies will continue their rivalry with the Redhawks.

"This is what I was raised on ... I played in it and we played against them twice a year," said Romar, who was 3-1 against SU as a player and is 4-0 as a coach. "We played them home and home almost like they were a conference opponent.

"That's kind of what you did at Washington. ... We'll continue to play them. I don't see the other peripheral issues. You go out and play and let the chips fall where they may."

Note

• Freshman point guard Andrew Andrews (sprained ankle) is doubtful for Thursday and Saturday's game against Jackson State.

• Junior forward Clarence Trent, who played a season at UW before transferring in 2010, leads the Redhawks in scoring, averaging 11.2 points.

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @percyallen.

Thursday

Washington @ Seattle U,

7 p.m., ROOT Sports


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