The Coach Hopkins era got off to a nice start tonight as the Washington Huskies came from behind to beat Belmont 86-82. Belmont led by nine points with 5:39 to go when Jaylen Nowell took over. The true freshman ended up with 32 points and 5 rebounds to drag the Dawgs to a win.
Belmont got off to an early lead despite a slow start from beyond the arc. They made just 1 of their first 9 three-pointers. That allowed the Huskies to get a 22-17 lead but Belmont started making shots and gained a lead at halftime. The offense had a tough time getting going as the Dawgs only had 3 assists at the break. Crisp led the Huskies with 9 points at halftime.
The Bruins quickly extended that lead behind the play of Nick Hopkins who ended up with 6 three-pointers off the bench. Foul trouble also plagued the Huskies. Hameir Wright and Sam Timmins both had 3 fouls at halftime. Noah Dickerson picked up a pair of fouls with about 15 minutes left that put him at 4 and forced him to the bench. He came back in at the under 8 timeout and fouled out on his first play. Several of those fouls were dubious calls but Dickerson had to play to the situation better.
Every time the Huskies made a run, Belmont countered until there were 6 minutes left when Jaylen Nowell, with an assist performance by Carlos Johnson, took over. The pair combined for the next 19 Washington points over a 5 minute span.
Jaylen hit a dazzling array of moves with a 3-pointer, several drives to the lane for and-1’s, and pull-up long 2’s. He carried the Huskies when anything less than excellence would have resulted in a loss. He is an absolute stud and the Huskies should thank their lucky stars he agreed to stay after Lorenzo Romar was fired.
David Crisp contributed with 16 points and 2 assists while Matisse Thybulle had 13 points and 5 steals as the team’s defensive leader.