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Huskies Comeback Attempt Starts Too Late in 70-62 loss to Utah

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NCAA Basketball: Washington at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

For a brief moment it looked like the Huskies might be able to get back into this game but ultimately the Utes pulled away and held off Washington by a score of 70-62. The Husky offense once again looked anemic and outside of more late game heroics from Jaylen Nowell they couldn’t get anything done.

The first half for Washington came down to fouls and shooting, as so many games do. Washington’s offense relied upon fast break opportunities off of turnovers as Matisse Thybulle had a few early steals. The Huskies took the lead at 12-11 after Michael Carter III got fouled canning a 3 and nailed the free throw for a 4 point play. But that would be it in the first half from deep for the Dawgs. They finished the half 1 of 13 on 3-pointers, reminiscent of the second half against UCLA.

The Husky defense did their best to keep things close by eventually shutting down the Utes’ shooting. Utah made 4 of their first 8 from long range but missed their last 7 shots of the half. Still nowhere near as inept as Washington in that department though.

Jaylen Nowell picked up his 2nd foul after just 5 minutes and sat the final 15 which didn’t help things for UW. And he wasn’t the only one. Time and again the Huskies got called for fouls whether they earned them or not. Most of them were deserved but the refs were certainly not calling it both ways as Dickerson got manhandled going after rebounds in the paint to no avail. The Utes got into the bonus with about 10 minutes left in the half and the double bonus shortly thereafter. The butcher’s bill at halftime: Wright with 3 fouls and Timmins, Nowell, Green, and Michael Carter III with 2 each. It added up to a 24-35 deficit going into the locker room at half.

In the 2nd frame, Utah couldn’t quite pull away from the Huskies as the lead stagnated between 8 and 13 points for nearly the entire half. Washington finally started to get some calls to go their way and like in the game against Wazzu, completely abandoned the 3-point line. Dominic Green made a 3-pointer but UW went just 1 of 5 in the 2nd half from deep with several of those coming in desperation in the last two minutes.

Washington finally made their run with about 6 minutes left as Jaylen Nowell started heated up and made a number of pull up mid-range jumpers and layups. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half. However, UW still couldn’t take advantage of their trips to the free throw line, finishing 10 of 18 from the line and Matisse Thybulle went 0/3 including missing on a technical free throw and the front end of a 1-and-1.

The Huskies pulled within 4 at 64-60 with just 2 minutes to go but the inability to get an offensive rebound killed them yet again. Utah missed their shot with 1:30 left, worked another 20 seconds off the clock, got another offensive board and then got fouled which effectively ended the game. Noah Dickerson finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds for Washington joining Nowell in double figures.

Washington’s next game comes at Colorado on Saturday at 3p Pacific.

Key Observations

  • Mike Hopkins clearly noticed that Michael Carter III’s +/- stats since his return have been terrific because David Crisp finally had the short leash fans have been clamoring for. After he missed his first 3-pointer and gave up a 3 on the other end, Coach Hop benched him after only 2 minutes. He was re-inserted 1 minute later but the message has been sent that he has to play better or there will be consequences. Michael Carter III finished with 9 points on 3/6 shooting while David Crisp had 7 points on 2/11 shooting including 0/7 from deep. Crisp is now just 4 of 34 from beyond the arc in conference play.
  • Joining Crisp in the poor shooting department continues to be Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle made a big impact early with some steals but it’s incredible to see how far his shooting has regressed. He shot 40.5% from 3-point range and 84.1% from the line last year. In conference play he’s now at 21% from deep and 53% from the line.
  • The Huskies actually only finished -1 in offensive rebound margin as they secured a few late in the game. At one point they were -7 early in the second half. But the final possession yielded multiple extra looks for Utah and it ended any chance of a comeback. Utah’s leading rebounder was...5’8 Justin Bibbins with 10.
  • Bibbins was the best player on the court tonight with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and just 2 turnovers on 6/12 shooting. Just imagine trading him for David Crisp and what this team could accomplish with a shooting threat at point guard. The Huskies bring everyone back next year but if Washington could’ve brought in a transfer like Bibbins or held on to a point guard in this class like Daejon Davis then this team would have a shot of challenging for a Pac-12 title. Instead the Dawgs will continue to fight for a place on the bubble. A win at Colorado on Saturday would be huge.

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