Washington badly needed a pick me up coming off a heartbreaking last second loss to Minnesota and it came in the form of Dominic Green who set a career high with 25 points in an 83-59 rout of Eastern Washington on a rainy Tuesday night.
The Huskies, and in particular David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle, were in an epic shooting slump to start the season but that ended early in this one. The pair hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first few minutes and Dominic Green added a 3 of his own to contribute to a 14-4 lead. That mark ballooned to 24-6 as Washington hit 5 of their first 7 shots from deep and looked like they might run the Eagles out of the gym. The outside shooting was badly needed because UW star Noah Dickerson reportedly wasn’t feeling well and did not play in the 1st half as Sam Timmins and Dominic Green got the start.
But Eastern wasn't going to go down without a fight and their outside shots started falling. In between, the Husky offense faltered as sloppy play led to several turnovers and the 3-point well dried up. Jesse Hunt for the Eagles powered an 11-0 run which led Hop to furiously call a timeout.
However, Dominic Green took over for the Husky offense as the Eagles kept leaving him unguarded in their zone or over committed when closing out. Matisse Thybulle also had one of his patented “how do his arms reach that far?” dunks and Nowell had a transition slam during the run to extend the lead back to double digits. But Eastern hit a 3 as time ran down in the half and the Husky lead was a disappointing 10 at 35-25 considering how well UW shot the ball.
Noah Dickerson warmed up after the half and apparently felt good enough to give it a go. His presence sparked Washington to be more aggressive as Eastern quickly accumulated 5 fouls in the first 4 minutes. But they were able to stay in the game by starting 4/4 from deep in the 2nd half including several that were about 4 steps behind the 3 point arc.
Washington's lead had trouble inching above 15 points until Dominic Green took back over. He rained down a couple more 3-pointers including one that barely touched his hand before he launched it to put the game out of reach.
The lead almost ballooned to 30 but mostly hovered between 20-25 points for the final 10 minutes or so. Bryan Penn-Johnson entered at the under 8 timeout while for the 1st time all season Coach Hop emptied the bench and got the walk ins into the game.
The Huskies next play on Sunday at home against UC Santa Barbara at 5p. After that they'll travel to #1 Gonzaga a week from tomorrow.
Double Bonus Thoughts
- The official word from UW was that Noah wasn’t feeling well and that’s why he only played in the 2nd half. I’ll take them at their word pending a change in story from Hop but normally if you see someone only play one half because they aren’t feeling well it will be the 1st one. But maybe Dickerson saw that the lead was only 10 at halftime and talked Hop into letting him play. Noah finished with 7 points and 3 rebounds in 11 minutes and a +/- of +14.
- Jamal Bey took advantage of a 4 guard Eastern team plus Noah’s absence to get the most extensive playing time he’s seen in his young career. He played 16 minutes and almost got his first field goal midway through the 1st half when a 3 just barely rimmed out and then he missed a putback dunk later in the possession. However, he did get his first points as he went 5/8 from the foul line and showed what looks like a smooth stroke.
- Bryan Penn-Johnson also recorded his first career point although again it came at the foul line rather than with a made basket where he was just 1/4. It’s not surprising that a raw big man like BPJ has problems from the foul line but it will be a major area of emphasis for him in the offseason I’m sure. He did show off his length on the defensive end with 3 blocks plus a few other altered shots in just 8 minutes.
- Props to Jesse Hunt of Eastern who really gave the Huskies fits in the 1st half as he had 14 points at the break. He nailed 3 or 4 turnaround jumpers at the top of the foul line before UW was forced to commit to that shot and then beat the center to the hoop a couple times. His inability to get going in the 2nd half was one of the reasons Washington was finally able to pull away.
- It was great to see the team really shoot the ball well for basically the first time all season. Dominic Green was obviously the main attraction as he was practically automatic. Matisse Thybulle got off to a nice start with a pair of early 3’s but he missed his final 3 to finish 2/5. David Crisp had one of his better games working primarily as a secondary scorer and finished with 14 points, 2 assists, and 1 TO on just 7 shots.
- Jaylen Nowell was the only UW player that couldn’t find his long range shot tonight but he contributed in other ways. It helped that the team was knocking down shots around him but Nowell set a career high in assists with 7 and tied a career high in rebounds with 9. He also chipped in 8 points.
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