Behind a career high scoring effort by star Matisse Thybulle, the Washington Huskies crushed the Colorado Buffaloes in a men’s basketball game on Saturday night by a score of 82-59. On normal nights, a dominating Husky win over a PAC 12 rival would be big news for a team riding the NCAA bubble. But tonight was not a normal night.
Husky legend Isaiah Thomas stole the show at Alaska Airlines Arena on Saturday night. The UW great had his #2 jersey retired in a half-time ceremony that recognized one of the most dynamic players that the conference has ever seen. Dressed dapper in a purple blazer and black tie while joined by his family, Thomas was cheered on during the induction by the likes of former Husky coach Lorenzo Romar, Markelle Fultz, Marquesse Chriss and other UW personalities as his jersey was hoisted to rafters next to Brandon Roy’s #3.
A packed arena was not only treated to a trip down memory lane with IT, but also a Washington Husky performance that featured the best of what we’ve seen this season from the Mike Hopkins
The Huskies got off to a hot start in this one despite the surprise move by coach Mike Hopkins of having star guard Jaylen Nowell come off the bench for just the second time this season. Matisse Thybulle started off as a defensive monster forcing turnovers and blocking shots to help UW get off to an early seven point lead.
The young Colorado lineup, which featured four freshmen starters, hung with it as the Dawgs struggled with their offense during the early part of the game. A couple of fouls on Thybulle and some patient inside-out ball featuring center Dallas Walton and guard George King allowed the Buffs to reclaim that lead halfway through the first half.
Noah Dickerson (14 pts, 10 rebounds) and Dominic Green reacted to that Colorado run with a mini run of their own that allowed UW to capture back momentum in the game. They never really relinquished it again.
A narrow halftime lead became a twenty point lead at the halfway mark of the second half. The Huskies cruised from there behind the efforts of UW’s big three: Dickerson, Thybulle (career high 26 points) and Jaylen Nowell (9 points). Fittingly, it was the Washington offense that shined in front of one of UW’s greatest offensive players.
The Huskies have four more games to go before the PAC 12 tournament. With the NCAA tournament still in reach, the margin for error is razor-thin. A win over Colorado probably doesn’t add much to their resume, but it keeps UW alive in the discussion.
Colorado - UW Dots
- This night was all about Isaiah Thomas. Check out his interview with the PAC 12 crew after his induction ceremony:
- I mentioned IT’s jacket. You have to check this thing out:
- Gus Johnson was on hand to honor IT and recalled his famous “cold-blooded” call
- Dominic Green got the start tonight over Jaylen Nowell for reasons not at all clear. Regardless of the reason, the hot-shooting Green delivered. He converted 3 of 4 from deep on his way to 11 points on the night.
- Forward Hameir Wright is entering into an interesting stage of his development. A growth in confidence is fueling a new-found aggressiveness in his game, particularly on the offensive end. However, his rawness really showed up tonight. In between brilliant hustle plays, Wright put up a couple of ill advised bricks and out of control episodes of ball-handling. Wright oozes athleticism and his aggressiveness is a welcome sight. We just have to live the ongoing learning curve.
- Thybulle is really putting together a helluva campaign to become the PAC 12 Defensive Player of the Year. The UW junior padded his resume with a block, four steals and what seemed like a hand in the lane every time Colorado tried to make an entry pass. He’s recorded at least one steal in every single game this season. The Huskies have never had a DPOY awarded to a player on their roster.
- Despite the blowout, Hopkins didn’t really do much to exercise his bench. Carlos Johnson and Michael Carter III were only inserted during garbage time under two minutes. We did have a both a Dan Kingma and Greg Bowman sighting at the 50 second mark.
- Isn’t it funny how we don’t complain about refs when the Huskies win big?
- Sorry about the lack of stats available for publication. The Statbroadcast that feeds all of the online live game updates appeared to be offline which made real time stats unavailable. The Dawgs were apparently so hot that they blew up the stats center.