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Washington tops Cal State Fullerton 87-69

It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but the uber-athletic young Huskies overcame a slow start to post a comfortable 87-69 win over the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Washington improves to 5-2 while Fullerton drops to 6-2.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Tip-off for tonight's game was slated for 6PM PT, but someone forgot to mention that to the Huskies as they didn't really show up until about halfway through the 1st half.  At that point they found themselves down 23-12 to the visiting Titans, victims of poor execution on their end, shots not falling, and an opponent that wasn't intimidated by the length and athleticism of the Huskies.  But it was exactly those traits that propelled the young Dawgs from that point forward to outscore Fullerton 75-46 the rest of the way.

Washington found some success with a full-court press and trapping and closed the gap to 26-19 by getting to the foul line as both teams were in the double-bonus early.  A few minutes later a Matisse Thybulle three-ball cut the gap to 28-24, followed by a Dejounte Murray three-pointer to make it 28-27.  A beautiful David Crisp floater tied the game at 30-all and the Titans called time out.  Another Thybulle long-ball gave Washington their first lead, 33-31, and the Huskies never looked back from that point.  They entered the half up 46-37, and the Titans never seriously threatened in the second half as the lead got as large as 22 points (76-54) before Romar started subbing in the walk-ons with 3 minutes to go.

The game was pretty good encapsulation of where this team is right now, both good and bad.  While the team will be happy about ending up with a comfortable win, the coaching staff will certainly get in their ears about the slow start, losing the rebounding battle (43-42), too many fouls on the bigs (4 each for Marquese Chriss and Noah Dickerson) and too many turnovers (17).

On to the dots:

  • Matisse Thybulle had a terrific game, especially on offense as he drained 6 of 7 shots (3 of 4 from long range) for a career-high 16 points. On a team full of highly athletic players, he still stands out with his quickness and hops.
  • Dejounte Murray filled the stat sheet.  He hit 7 of 13 and was able to get to the basket with ease, finishing with a team-high 17 points.  He was a pest on the defensive end too, using his length and quick hands to grab 5 steals, and he was also credited with 5 assists.
  • Andrew Andrews was much as you'd expect - he was able to get to the rim and draw contact, and while he had some issues finishing (he was 4 of 15 on the night) he drained a number of key 3-pointers (3 of 7), got to the line for 6 attempts, and was active on the glass, grabbing a team-high 10 boards.  He also chipped in 2 steals.
  • This wasn't the best game for Marquese Chriss as he hit just 2 of 9 shots for 9 points and grabbed 2 rebounds while picking up those 4 fouls in just 22 minutes of play.  That said, his potential is incredible - his jumping ability and quickness allow him to get terrific looks inside, block shots on the defensive end (he had 2) and he shows a really nice shooting stroke (he was 1 of 2 from 3-point range).  He makes some freshman mistakes with silly fouls and turnovers, but if he can refine his game a bit he's got lottery-pick written all over him.
  • Malik Dime isn't the most refined player himself, but he's a crowd-pleaser.  Between his 4 blocks and a couple of emphatic dunks, he's got the bounciness to make plays that bring the crowd to its feet.
  • Washington's length really bothered CSF - they were constantly getting their hands on passes, either for steals or tipping them out of bounds (they finished with 8 steals) and their shot-blocking bailed them out frequently in the paint as they swatted 11 total.
  • It's a good thing they were getting those steals and blocks, as the Titans were frequently able to beat the Huskies off the dribble and get penetration toward the bucket, only to get swiped or have their shot swatted away.  They finished just 21 of 61 from the floor (34.4%).  On the other hand, they hit a lot of contested three-pointers (7 of 19, 36.8%).
  • The Huskies are still too careless with the ball, finishing with 17 turnovers as CSF swiped them 10 times.  These came mostly off the dribble rather than being reckless passes.

Washington won't have a lot of time to dwell on this win as they return to the court Tuesday when they host the Horned Frogs of TCU.