If you only looked at the final score you would have no idea how this game played out. If you looked at the 1st and 2nd half splits then you pretty much know what happened. 1st Half: UW- 36, UCLA- 28. 2nd Half: UW- 17, UCLA- 46. Washington had one of the worst shooting stretches in school history in the final 20 minutes as they blew a 14 point 2nd half lead and ended up getting routed by a final of 53-74.
The night got off to a very promising start. The Huskies took control almost straight from the opening tip. UCLA traded baskets in the first couple minutes but Washington quickly built up a 19-9 lead on the back of their defense. UCLA turned the ball over 4 times in 5 minutes midway through the 1st half and they had real problems figuring out the zone.
Dickerson and Timmins were both effective inside and scoring the ball. The Huskies missed a lot of shots but they were getting offensive rebounds and led in 2nd chance points. Jaylen Nowell picked up an early 2nd foul and then picked up a 3rd within 15 seconds of re-entering the game. Because of those foul problems he only played 7 minutes in the half. The Huskies were able to withstand some rocky shooting and lead by 8, 32-24, at halftime.
The second half looked like the Dawgs might keep rolling as they got out to a 14 point lead. But then Washington went ice cold and it flipped the game. You can pick your metric and it’s almost unfathomable how bad Washington’s offense was in the 2nd half. UCLA went on a 13-0 lead that closed it to within one point and it looked like UW might have a chance to weather the storm.
But a barrage of bricks doomed Washington. During that run the Huskies missed 14 consecutive shots. Then UW made consecutive shots to reclaim a 4 point lead but fell apart again by missing their final 11 shots. That’s 2 of their last 28 from the field for those of you counting at home. Including missing their last 22 three-point attempts after a Dominic Green jumper with 9:43 left in the 1st half.
Not making shots meant that UCLA was getting long rebounds that they could turn into psuedo-fast break attempts before Washington got the zone set. The Huskies were roasted in transition as they did a pretty good job of defending the three-point shot. When Jaylen Nowell got his 5th foul on a scramble for a loose rebound with 4 minutes left it extinguished any hope of late game heroics by a Washington player.
Noah Dickerson led the Huskies in scoring with 14 points and 7 rebounds while David Crisp contributed 11 points albeit on 4 for 14 shooting and 5 turnovers. Kris Wilkes led the Bruins with 21 points and 5 rebounds.
- Nothing went right for the Huskies in the 2nd half as you can tell. Washington was getting open looks but just couldn’t make a shot to save their lives. Not every single 3-pointer was a clean look but it was tough to fault too many of them if you look at each individual shot on its own. But it looked like UW felt that they couldn’t take back the lead until they ended the streak and so they just kept shooting and kept missing. Even when they did get inside shots the ball just bounced off the rim or rolled around and out straight to a UCLA rebounder.
- The Huskies finished with more offensive rebounds than field goals made. That’s got to be some kind of record. But I guess that’s what happens when you shoot 27.9% from the field and 7.4% from beyond the arc...
- Several times UW hesitated on the extra pass and it killed them. Dominic Green got the ball with about 5 seconds left in the 1st half and pump faked before finally getting it to Nahziah Carter who was wide open in the corner. That allowed the UCLA center to rotate and block what should have been an easy 3-point attempt. It happened a few more times in the 2nd half. Those passes need to happen immediately for this offense to succeed which struggles enough scoring as it is.
- This was not a game for the freshmen. I wrote just before this weekend that the Huskies would be doomed if they experienced the freshman wall. Everyone hit a wall in the 2nd half but the trio of Hameir Wright, Nahziah Carter, and Jaylen Nowell finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds on 5 of 24 shooting in 49 minutes. They have to be better if Washington is going to achieve its goals this season.
- Looking for bright spots, I thought Sam Timmins played well in the 1st half. He ended the game with 6 points and 9 rebounds. However, he hardly played in the 2nd half as Hopkins opted to go with more shooting. Obviously none of the shooters made their shots but it’s hard to fault him for the decision in theory.
- David Crisp will be hammered after this game and this is everyone’s reminder that he’s playing out of position. When Michael Carter III comes back we’ll see if Hopkins feels better about pulling Crisp if he gets into a funk as happened in the 2nd half where he overdribbled and jacked up missed 3-pointers.
- It’s obviously incredibly disappointed that UW got crushed in a game they led by 14 in the 2nd half but I think if you’d asked any Husky fan if they would take a split of the LA schools on the road on Thursday night, they would’ve taken it. The best thing going for Washington’s tourney hopes right now is that they don’t have a bad loss (as in a loss to a bad team). If they can end next weekend 2-1 in conference play despite starting with 3 straight road games then it’ll likely be the best scenario they could’ve reasonable hoped for.
The Huskies will have nearly a week to prepare before they next take the court at Washington State on Saturday 1/6 at 1pm.
You can follow me for all of your UW men’s basketball news and updates @UWDP_maxvroom