The good news? Washington got off to a 2-0 lead. The bad news? Everything else as the Huskies were run out of the gym instantly in an 88-66 drubbing of a loss at Auburn. Jaylen Nowell and Naz Carter led the Huskies in scoring with 16 points apiece.
After the layup by Matisse Thybulle to give Washington that lead the Tigers came out on fire and rolled off 12 in a row including a pair of 3-pointers prompting a Washington timeout. Time after time Auburn was able to get the ball out in transition because the Huskies offense was non-functional. Noah Dickerson was called for an early 2nd foul trying to clear space and once again his absence left the Huskies with no plan B.
The run just continued for Auburn as the turnovers piled up for the Dawgs and Auburn led 22-7 with 12 minutes to go in the first half. The Tigers used a full court press early in the game and Washington wasn’t ready for it leading to several sloppy possessions handing Auburn the ball. Noah came back in with about 10 minutes to go in the half and helped Washington start to chip away but he was called for a technical after an emphatic and emotional dunk and it seemed to drain the Huskies of any remaining fight.
The offense stabilized but the Tigers took advantage on the offensive glass, ending up with 11 offensive boards in the first half. The lead swelled to 18 points for Auburn at halftime by a score of 48-30. The Huskies surprisingly shot better from the field in the 1st half but had 4 extra turnovers and 8 fewer offensive rebounds which gave Auburn enough extra possessions to hold a sizable advantage.
Things went just as poorly in the 2nd half as Washington again committed dumb turnovers and Auburn capitalized on the opportunities to turn them into points. After 8 and a half minutes the Auburn lead ballooned out to 30 points at 71-41. Shortly thereafter Noah Dickerson fouled out on another offensive foul as the refs consistently refused to let him fight for position with 20+ friends and family in attendance from his nearby Atlanta hometown.
Washington cut the lead down to 20 points in the final minute but never got it below that margin at any point in the 2nd half. The Huskies will try to shake off the beating on Monday night when they return home to play a solid 2-0 San Diego Toreros team.
- Yes, the Huskies got their asses kicked tonight. It was reminiscent of the beatdown against Virginia Tech last season. But there’s still virtually no downside in scheduling this game. Come selection Sunday this game will not show up on the team sheet. Coach Hop did the right thing scheduling aggressively and giving the Dawgs as many chances as possible to get signature wins in the non-con. Eventually, the Huskies are going to have win one of these away from Seattle. But if they come out of this schedule with only road losses to Auburn, Virginia Tech, and Gonzaga (3 top-15 if not top-10 teams) and wins over Western Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas A&M then it’ll be ok. But it’d be really nice to somehow pull out 1 of the games against Gonzaga or Virginia Tech as a showcase victory
- I picked Matisse Thybulle as the team’s MVP earlier this week in my preseason column but would already like to amend my answer to Noah Dickerson. The offense just looks broken so far when he’s not out there and the Huskies aren’t getting transition buckets. David Crisp and Jaylen Nowell just dribbled on the perimeter while one guy tried to get open off a screen for a 3 and if he wasn’t open they didn’t know what to do. The pair combined for 9 turnovers and almost all of them were live ball situations where Auburn stripped it and ran the other way for a layup. Unacceptable play from them tonight. Nowell led the team in scoring with a couple of 3’s but he was a net negative.
- The Huskies were going to lose tonight regardless but they really shot themselves in the foot at the FT line. Washington missed the front end of a 1-and-1 three separate times. If you view those as 0-2’s in the box score which is more accurate then Washington was just 10 of 20 from the line. Noah Dickerson has been their best free throw shooter and he had 0 attempts tonight.
- Naz Carter was one off his career high in points by scoring 16 on 4 of 7 shooting from the field and 7 of 9 from the line. Two of his misses in the first half were an off balance 3-pointer and a fade away foul line jumper when he had an 8-inch size advantage mismatch. Those shots were terrible. But outside of that he played aggressive when no one else was. I’d really like to see him embrace his role and shoot it if wide wide open but otherwise drive or pass.
- Matisse finished with 2 blocks and 2 steals but he didn’t dominate this game defensively (obviously, given the final score) the way he normally does. Washington rarely got a live ball turnover to be able to push it in transition and when they did Auburn did a great job with their team speed of getting back in position to defend. Washington had a -7 turnover differential but a -24 points off turnovers differential. The Huskies have to be even or ahead in that category to win a game like this.
- Jamal Bey got into the game with about 6 minutes to go and the rest of the freshmen came in a few minutes later. The Huskies had injury added to insult when Elijah Hardy appeared to badly hurt his hand with 6 seconds left. We’ll hope for the best for him but this is eerily similar to last season when true freshman PG Michael Carter III broke his hand early in the non-conference and didn’t get the chance to get in reps before conference play started.
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