The Washington Huskies shook off an early bricklaying session and found its shooting stroke to beat the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, 72-62. The Dawgs earned a split of their road trip with big games from Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson and Jaylen Nowell.
The Huskies picked up where they left off in Utah by missing a whole bunch of shots in the beginning. They started 0-7 before a put back slam by Samuel Timmins broke the seal on the scoring. The Dawgs also took some time off from scoring during the half as they do most games. This time it was almost 5 minutes in between putting up points on the board. Honestly, a lot of the shots the Huskies put up were just wishes. Each time down court it took the Huskies at least 10-15 seconds to figure out what was going on before attacking the basket. There is deliberate and controlling tempo and then there were the Huskies in the first half.
The good news is that the Buffs were just as cold to start the game which kept the Huskies in striking distance. Colorado led by as much as 9 when a Coach Hopkins timeout changed everything.
The Dawgs were shooting just 20% before back to back 3 pointers put them back in the game at 18-15. Another drive by David Crisp put the Dawgs down by one and a put back by Noah Dickerson and the Huskies were up 19-18.
The good news was that Husky D started to pester the Buffaloes as they went cold. A 14-0 scoring run by UW brought them out to a 23-18 lead.
A graphic posted by the Pac 12 network showed that the Dawgs shot a meager 4/20 to start and 7/8 after the timeout from Coach Hopkins.
Dom Green was the spark for UW off of the bench. This was highlighted with a 4-point play in the first half and gave the Huskies a 9-point lead at 34-25. He also played key minutes in the second half including a no-look assist to Matisse Thybulle for an open 3 which gave the Huskies a 63-50 lead under 5 minutes.
The Huskies survived 7 first half turnovers to just 1 by the Buffs. The good news was that the Dawgs outrebounded Colorado 31-16.
A good second-part of the first half gave the Huskies a 36-27 halftime lead.
The Huskies extended it to 13 early on in the second with a strong David Crisp steal and drive to the hoop.
The lead was cut to 8 after another lapse in scoring (this time 3 minutes) by the Dawgs until Matisse Thybulle hit a tough jumper to extend the lead to 10. But the Buffs got back to within 7 at the television timeout.
After the under 4-minute timeout, the Buffs came out with a bucket from Dallas Walton. Walton, a 7-foot Freshman was challenged all day when he received the ball at the foul line and did all right ending with 13 points. After his score, David Crisp made a bone-head error in getting stripped by McKinley Wright and then compounding the problem by fouling Wright for an and-one. The lead was down to 7, 63-56.
The Dawgs countered with the one-man offensive show of Jaylen Nowell. When the Dawgs needed a basket, they went 1-4 down and Nowell got the basket extending the lead to 9. After a stop, it was the same play on offense, but Nowell turned the ball over.
The good news was that the Huskies were able to clamp down on defense and kept the Buffs at arms-length the rest of the way. It was solidified by a Crisp steal and break-away dunk with under a minute left putting the game out of reach.
Matisse Thybulle had 18 points and 10 rebounds while Jaylen Nowell added 19 points and 6 rebounds. Noah Dickerson added 10 points and 14 boards. The Dawgs shot 8-19 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Buffs 50-34.
The Huskies moved to 14-6 and 4-3 in the Pac 12 conference while the Buffs went to 12-8 and 4-4 in conference. Next up for the Huskies are the Cougs next Sunday.
Coach Hopkins used an interesting rotation at the end of the game. He inserted Michael Carter III (who played sparingly) in the game to help out with ball-handling on offense. It was clear that Crisp was shaky with ball pressure. He also inserted Green and Timmins in the game to help with the rebounding on defense.
The Huskies made a better effort to make the extra pass for a better shot despite an open 3 which shows that the team is learning. Looking for the better shot and not just a 3 (there’s a reason you’re open, right?) is something this team has to learn especially since they are not a very good 3-point shooting team. Of course, they hit 8 today.
The Huskies were able to handle the token half-court trapping defense presented by the Buffs and the late game full-court pressure without turning the ball over.
Assists are few and far between. The Dawgs have to work on this as they have a 3-game homestand starting against the Cougs next week. You can attribute some of the issues to missed easy shots and put-backs, many from Noah Dickerson.
Some Buff fans don’t forget:
A solid bounce-back game by the Huskies who looked like they were fading the past 2 games.