The bane of any two-three zone is a team that can light it up from deep, and Saint Mary’s is that team. When a team that shoots threes well is, well, shooting threes well, it’s hard to stop. UW had a career performance from Nahziah Carter and superb games from Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulle but it wasn’t enough as the Gaels’ outside onslaught was just too much in their 85-81 victory
The Gaels hit two of their three attempts from deep in the first quarter while Naz Carter had UW’s final attempt (excluding a half court heave from Jaylen Nowell) and was the only one to hit.
Accurate passing from the Gaels caused issues through the UW zone, with seven of the first eight baskets by Saint Mary’s coming by assist, leading them to a 19-13 advantage after the first quarter.
Carter hit two more threes to give him the team lead in scoring at nine going into the halftime break, as he was still the only Dawg with a make from beyond the arc at half. Saint Mary’s was able to get the ball inside and score with their senior center Jock Landale, but it was actually Calvin Hermanson who led the Gaels with 11 points, most of them coming from three triples.
Triples were the theme of the third quarter, and not because Washington was hitting them. Saint Mary’s entered the half hitting threes at a rate of 67 percent. That climbed to 80 percent before the waning moments of the third quarter.
The UW zone tends to leave the high post open to the teams who are willing to take it. Saint Mary’s was willing to take it and Evan Fitzner was the main beneficiary, scoring a career-best 20.
The fourth quarter is when the Huskies woke up. The quarter opened with a 12-2 run for the Dawgs with the Gaels starting to fall back to earth from outside and Fitzner realized he doesn’t average even five points a game. The gap was closed to four after the run.
Naziah Carter was the headliner for UW offensively. His jumper has been coming along all season long and this was the pinnacle of his season. He hit every shot from behind the arc to total 14 points and also was all around defensively. His athleticism reminds our own Landon of Terrence Ross.
Noah Dickerson led the Huskies with his throwback post scoring, 20 points in total with six made free throws and nine rebounds.
Matisse Thybulle continued to be the prototype for a Mike Hopkins wing, notching four more steals and three shots blocked in addition to his 13 points.
- When a team is shooting 60 percent from deep, where the Gaels ended at, it is difficult for any team to defeat them. Washington was still able to nearly do that with its havoc-creating defense and timely shooting of its own. When you take a look at the box score and see that the Dawgs hit 45 percent of their own threes (Thanks Naz) you know they had a chance in the game. Unfortunately, St. Mary’s did even better.
- Sam Timmins got a lot of run in the first quarter, then didn’t see the floor for the rest of the game. He was in there to slow Jock Landale but he was little more effective than Dickerson and the interior passing from the Gaels made it difficult for Hopkins to keep Timmins in the game.
- During the game, Bryce Penn-Johnson committed to UW. It is possible that the four-star center will redshirt next season, but his length would have been very helpful at deterring the inside passing the Dawgs faced tonight.
- Mike Hopkins is leading Washington where it needs to be. 9-22 to 21-13 with everyone returning next season. It’s gonna be a fun ride.