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Rawle Alkins likely to start vs. Washington

Alkins is on track to return to the starting five Saturday in Seattle

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats guard Rawle Alkins will likely start against the Washington Huskies on Saturday, head coach Sean Miller told Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star.

Alkins came off the bench Wednesday at Washington State in what was his first appearance since Jan. 20 due to soreness in his surgically-repaired right foot.

Pascoe notes that Miller anticipates having Alkins in the lineup the rest of the way, but also mentioned that the team will continue to be cautious with Alkins, who’s on the mend from a broken foot suffered in September.

Alkins looked extremely sharp Wednesday in Pullman, scoring 16 points off the bench in Arizona’s 100-72 rout of the Cougars. The sophomore was 6-of-8 from the field and knocked down all four 3s he took.

However, he only played 16 minutes — partly because the game was so out of hand — so it will be interesting to see how many he plays against the Huskies.

Alkins had missed two straight games and three of the last four before that contest in Pullman, and Miller had said Alkins would likely be on a minute-restriction.

Dylan Smith had been starting in Alkins’ place and the Wildcats were unbeaten with that lineup, leading some to suggest that Alkins should continue coming off the bench.

But Miller clearly prefers to start Alkins when he’s healthy enough to play major minutes, and rightfully so.

Alkins is averaging a career-high 14.7 points per game this season, to go along with 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 2.7 assists.

Arizona and Washington tip off Saturday at 8:30 p.m. MST in Seattle. The Wildcats (19-4, 9-1 Pac-12) have won seven straight, while the third-place Huskies (16-6, 6-3 Pac-12) knocked off No. 25 ASU on Thursday.

A win for Arizona would boost its chance of winning the Pac-12, while a victory for Washington would greatly strengthen its NCAA Tournament résumé.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently lists Washington as one of the first four teams out.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire