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Washington defeats No. 25 Arizona State 68-64.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

An impressive defensive performance and big offensive contributions from Noah Dickerson, Jaylen Nowell, and David Crisp, paved the way for the Washington Huskies 68-64 upset win over No. 25 Arizona State. After some first half dominance by the Dawgs, the Sun Devils took their first lead of the game with 7:28 to go in the second half. It came down to the final minute and two clutch layups by Crisp to seal the win.

In what was a chippy game at times, the UW’s defense applied the brakes to the high scoring Arizona State offense, who entered Thursday averaging a conference leading 85.9 points. ASU was held to just 5-19 from three, including going 1-10 in the first half. However, the Huskies were barely any better, hitting just 5-17 of their three pointers. In fact, both teams made only 24 field goals, with ASU’s 44% besting the Dawg’s 39% from the field. The point differential can be found in the free throws, with UW going 15-18 from the stripe, while ASU went 11-17. There’s your game right there.

Once again, the defensive player of the game for the Dawgs was Matisse Thybulle. On a night where he set the Washington single season record for steals, he walked away with 6, as well as nine points, two boards, two assists, and two blocks. Thybulle now has 70 steals on the season and is a leading candidate for defensive player of the year in the conference. The kid’s simply been killin’ it.

As we’ve seen increasingly from this team, it’s not any one player that seems to deliver on offense, but a team effort from multiple guys who have been consistently scoring in double figures. Dickerson put on a show for his birthday, delivering his fifth double-double of the season with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Arizona State had no answer for him as he dominated the post in his 29 minutes of playing time. Nowell had another good game, just missing a double-double of his own with 15 points and nine rebounds, along with three assists and a steal. Meanwhile, after a quite first half, Crisp was clutch down the stretch and ended the game with 12 points and two assists.

The game also included a rare fight that ended in two technical fouls being dealt out. Halfway through the second half, ASU’s Mickey Mitchell dropped down after a missed dunk onto Nahziah Carter, which prompted fellow UW freshman Michael Carter III to step in and shove Mitchell to the ground. Both Mitchell and Carter III received technical fouls for the incident.

Moving on to the big picture, Washington now has a 16-6 record (6-3 in conference) and holds sole claim to third place in the Pac-12. If the Pac-12 tournament were held this weekend (it’s not), the Huskies would have a first-round bye. Amazing, especially given where this team was at this time last season. But day dreaming aside, this is a big upcoming weekend for the Dawgs, as the Huskies host No. 9 Arizona on Saturday night at Hec Ed. A loss could be forgiven, but a win would be huge for this team’s post season hopes. With tonight’s win over ASU, the Huskies are inching closer and closer to the elusive NCAA tournament.

Go Dawgs.