The Washington Huskies defeated the Omaha Mavericks 86-73 in a game played on Sunday night in Seattle.
The Mavericks of the Summit League have struggled so far this season. They’ve posted just a 1-7 record and have, statistically speaking, one of the worst defenses in all of college basketball. As it looked on paper, this was a perfect game for the young and still gelling Huskies to flex their collective muscles.
It took a lot longer than most fans would prefer, but the Huskies were eventually able to do just that. Washington defeated the Omaha Mavericks on Sunday night by a final score of 86-73.
The first half was a struggle in every aspect for UW. Two quick fouls on Jaylen Nowell resulted in a long stretch on the bench and a period of offensive disjointment that seemed to plague the whole team. UW was able to do some damage with Dickerson in the post, but not much seemed to come out of the set offense.
Defensively, UW was not good. Omaha sliced and diced the 2-3 zone and pretty much got every shot it wanted whether it was a cut through the lane or a long three. Zach Jackson was particularly hot racking up 15 points in the half to lead all scorers (he would finish with a game 28 points on 10-17 shooting). To add insult to injury, the smaller Mavericks took a massive rebounding advantage of 25 to 16, including 7 offensive rebounds, into the half.
Things turned for UW in the second half, but not before Omaha pushed the Dawgs a little bit further past their comfort zone.
UW jumped out to a quick 9 point lead thanks to some great up-and-down fast break action fed mostly by the trio of David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle and Jaylen Nowell. For a few minutes, it looked like UW might be able to pull away.
No so much.
Omaha fought back by going on a 17-7 run that gave them the lead with 10 minutes to play.
From there, UW wrestled back control of the game and simply overpowered the Mavericks. They leveraged some inspired closing minutes from their post players - both Sam Timmins (who had the play of the night with an awesome tip jam) and Noah Dickerson - to simply overpower their smaller opponents. They outscored Omaha 30 to 14 in those last 10 minutes.
The Huskies move to an overall record of 6-2 and will spend the next few days preparing for their matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks.
- By the looks of it on TV, the crowd at the arena probably was less than 700 people. I get that there is a Seahawks game tonight. But, yikes. Local fans just aren’t supporting this program right now and are voting with their wallets.
- Noah Dickerson appeared to injure himself at the 10 minute mark of the second half when an Omaha player came down on top of Noah’s right arm as he was stretching out to corral a loose ball. He immediately was taken to the locker room to have his shoulder examined, but he was able to return to the game a few minutes later.
- Matisse Thybulle had an interesting game. He wasn’t particularly effective offensively save for some free throws. But his defense was superb. He finished the game with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 steals.
- The Dawgs still look like a team whose game speed doesn’t quite match what the inherent talent levels of the roster. Whether we are talking about offense or defense, there is still a sluggishness about the squad that you’d expect to see from a team that is still trying to figure out what this new program is all about.
- UW’s length is clearly a factor against teams like Omaha who can’t match it. That said, I was surprised to, again, see another smaller team continue - with success - to get the ball inside the zone and attack the rim without fear. This appears to be the book on UW right now.
- David Crisp continues to be frustrating to me with his ups and downs. He jacked up a bunch of threes, particularly early in the game, that were completely outside the flow of the offense. He was rewarded for his efforts with a couple of epic bricks. But then he helped himself by being more patient in the second half and was able to get more shots moving towards the rim. He finished just 2 of 8 from beyond the arc, but 8 of 15 overall for 24 points and 4 steals.
- Hameir Wright seemed to gain some offensive confidence in this one. He didn’t put up huge stats but he was able to make some plays from both the perimeter and at the basket. It is obvious that he is not being asked to play much of a role on the offensive end, but he will definitely need to be able to contribute as the season goes on.
- Speaking of Wright, he did have one of the funniest flops that I’ve ever seen. Hopefully somebody can find a GIF of it. I’m guessing he’ll take some grief from his teammates once they see it on tape.