Freshman point guard Markelle Fultz put on an absolute show for Huskies fans on Thursday night, as the Huskies downed the Cal State Fullerton Titans 104-88, earning their first victory of the season.
Fultz finished the night with 35 points on an incredibly efficient 10-14 from the field, went 12-15 from the free-throw line and also dished out six assists. At this point, it looks as if there is nothing the freshman from Upper Marlboro, Maryland can't do on the basketball court. He was unstoppable from all over the floor, scoring in nearly every way imaginable. He hit threes, knocking down three of his five attempts. He finished at the rim, including back to back acrobatic reverse layups early in the second half. He hit pull up jump shots, adding a step back when necessary. He forced turnovers and threw down sky scrapping dunks. The Titans had no chance of slowing him down. It is early, and Cal State Fullerton, all due respect to the Titans, is not the highest level of competition to measure Fultz's against, but so far, he has proven why many have projected him as the top pick in next year's NBA Draft.
Though Fultz put together a spectacular individual performance, this was a back and forth affair for the Huskies for most of the evening. After a slow start to the first half- the Huskies trailed by as much as six early on-the Huskies strung together a 30-13 run over the final nine minutes of the first half and took a 53-43 lead into the break.
However, the Huskies failed to create any real breath rooming between themselves and Cal State Fullerton, as the Titans were able to keep it to a single digit deficit throughout the majority of the second half. Ultimately, Fultz finally broke the game open when threw down back to back dunks with four minutes to go. The Huskies seized the momentum at that point, and finally held onto it for good, as they cruised to victory in the final minutes of the game.
- Hey, if I didn't mention it before, Markelle Fultz is awesome.
- Matisse Thybulle continues to look like the most improved returner from last season. The sophomore finished with 15 points on 5-8 shooting, and also knocked down four of his five free throw attempts. He looks much more comfortable dribbling the ball on the perimeter so far this season, and seems to have added some arc to his jump shot.
He also stifled Cal State Fullerton's Tre Coggins, who looked unstoppable early. Coggins poured in 20 first half points, but was limited to just three points in the second half, thanks in large part to Mattisse. If these two games are any indication, it looks as though the Huskies will lean on their sophomore wing as one of their primary scorers this season, as well as to be one of their anchors on defense.
- Marquese Chriss may be gone, but foul trouble still remains a big issue for the Huskies front court. Noah Dickerson and Sam Timmins both picked up three fouls in the first half, and Malik Dime picked up his third early in the second half. Dime and Timmins both finished the game with four fouls, and Dickerson fouled out with a little over five minutes left to play in the second half. Most concerning of all was the front court's propensity to reach over the back and try to deflect post entry passes on defense. Refs will calls that type of reach nearly every time, and all three big men seemed unable to help themselves, even after getting into foul trouble.
- Dominic Green put together a solid performance, finishing with 11 points on 5-10 from the field. He seems to have improved his ability to finish at the rim, as he drove to the hoop and converted multiple layups tonight. He also finished with four rebounds, and aggressively hunted long rebounds all night, which is a positive sign for the Huskies. He struggled with his three point jump shot tonight, knocking down just one of his four attempts from deep, and still made questionable decisions at times, but the sophomore from Hazen seems to be improving in his second year with the Huskies.
- David Crisp put together a nice outing, finishing with 17 points on an efficient 5-9 from the field. He also knocked down four of his seven three point attempts, and went 3-4 from the charity stripe. He is still an awkward fit in the offense when he has to take over point guard duties, but he should be a microwave of a scorer for the Huskies this season.
- Sam Timmins is a skilled player, and will most likely be a very good contributor for the Huskies down the road. But it is going to take time. He is obviously still young, and seems to still be growing into his body. He looks a step or two slow at times, and will likely take his licks this season against some of the more athletic front courts in the Pac-12.