A win is a win, especially when it ends a 4-game losing streak... but this one was a little too close for comfort. On paper this game looked like a gimme for the Dawgs. In execution, a career best 28 points from Garfield High alum and Broncos’ senior Tucker Haymond kept WMU in the game deep into the second half.
Luckily for the Huskies, they have this guy:
.@MarkelleF snaps a WMU 6-0 run with a mid-range jumper. https://t.co/frOnxSxx9j— UW Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) December 19, 2016
.@MarkelleF to the rim to give UW the 81-80 lead with under 5 left in the 2nd half https://t.co/WX77MbrKWc— UW Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) December 19, 2016
...And this guy:
Markelle Fultz knocks down a clutch dribble and drive in the lane. Huskies are pulling away. https://t.co/cYtEdn5AdW— UW Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) December 19, 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the Markelle Fultz show!
Fultz had himself a game, just missing a triple-double with 27 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds along with one monster block. It would have been the first triple-double in Washington history. The true freshman point guard continues to impress on his way to possibly being the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
Fultz’s highlights don’t tell the whole story of the game though, which was actually a back-and-forth battle till the end, leading to a 92-86 UW win. Despite having an average (at best) offense coming into this game, the Broncos took an early lead and shot well from beyond the arc (54.5%) against the Huskies’ 2-3 zone D. The Huskies’ lackluster defense continued to be the clear weakness of this team, which allowed the Broncos to stay within three points going into the half, despite leading by as many as 11 at one point.
A bright spot for the Dawgs was their own offensive output, which nearly matched WMU from three-point land with 53.3%, while shooting a total of 57.4% from the field. All that, while shooting only 60.9% (14-23) from the line. A tip of the cap to Dominic Green, David Crisp and Noah Dickerson, who scored 16, 15 and 12 points, respectively. Also, Sam Timmins launched a very long two-pointer that was fun to see:
Sam Timmins hits a long 2 as UW leads 57-53 w/15:46 left in the 2nd half ... Timmins has six on 3-of-3 shooting https://t.co/lKiBED0JMs— UW Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) December 19, 2016
I don’t want to get too overly positive about this game though, because in all honestly, it was another bad defensive showing against a bad team. With only a few exceptions, like a great hustle play from Malik Dime who hit the floor for a loose ball and called timeout to keep possession, this is a slow team that lacks some serious hustle and effort on D. The level of effort displayed on defense is downright awful. Haymond, WMU’s leading scorer, had gone 3 for 18 from deep this season, before draining his first three shots in this game, all 3’s. You might be able to chalk that up to some homecoming juice for the Seattle native, but it’s just indicative of more bad defense in my eyes. To put it another way, the Huskies’ gave up 86 points to a team from the MAC that averages 72.2 ppg.
We need this team to get better, fast, if we want to make anything of this season. For the time being, the Huskies are 5-5 after tonight’s win.
Up Next: The Huskies will host the 5-6 Cal Poly Mustangs at home on Tuesday at 8 PM.