A sold out crowd at Hec-Ed knew this was a must win game for the Huskies. But apparently no one told the team until there were 6 minutes left in the game. Oregon held off a late UW rally to crush the Huskies’ dreams with a 72-64 victory on senior day. The loss in the regular season finale drops the Dawgs to 20-11 (10-8).
Coach Hopkins started Greg Bowman and Dan Kingma on senior day and the decision paid off as Bowman actually scored on the first possession of the game. But then Oregon started making shots and didn’t stop. Mikyle Mcintosh got Oregon’s first two baskets including their first 3-pointer sandwiched around a Timmins dunk to give the Ducks their first lead at 5-4. They’d never relinquish it again.
Oregon bombarded the Huskies with outside shots in jumping out to an 8-point lead early. The Ducks made 6 of their first 9 attempts from deep. Noah Dickerson tried to keep Washington in the game. He finished the first half 6 of 6 from the line including a pair of trips that were 1 and 1s and had 10 points.
Oregon eventually cooled off after shooting better than 60% from the field for most of the half and at one point missed 7 shots in a row. That allowed Washington to creep closer and a Dickerson free throw made it 30-27 with 5:41 left in the half and brought the crowd into it. That’s when things turned way south. The Huskies went cold and Oregon heated back up and looked like they’d take a 12 point lead into halftime. But Dominic Green threw an inbounds pass straight to a Ducks defender with 20 seconds left in the half and Payton Pritchard hit an off-balance deep 3 as time ran out in the half to put Oregon up 15 and cap a 14-2 run.
The Oregon offense didn’t cool off during intermission but Washington kept pace. Sam Timmins had four points and a Jaylen Nowell three-pointer were part of UW’s 9 points in the first 4 minutes. Payton Pritchard had 5 points of his own in that span and the lead only shrunk by 2.
As things continued back and forth, Coach Hop tried to change the energy by inserting Carlos Johnson into the game outside of garbage time for the first time in a month. It didn’t change things at all and he struggled mightily to show why he hasn’t been playing. Washington trailed by 15 again at 60-45 heading into the under 12 timeout.
Time and again it looked like the Huskies would have a stop but Oregon came away with the ball. The lack of hustle on Washington’s part was evident. With 8 minutes to go in the game the Ducks had 11 offensive rebounds and dominated the Huskies in second chance points on the way to a 63-49 lead.
The Huskies finally made the run that the crowd had been dying to see for over an hour. Nowell hit a floater and Nahziah Carter had a nifty tear drop over Kenny Wooten and off the glass to bring it within 10. David Crisp took over from there. He got a layup, a 3-pointer, and a steal for a fast break layup to close the margin to 6 at 68-62 with less than 4 minutes left. Noah Dickerson got fouled getting a defensive rebound and hit a pair at the line (10/10) to bring UW to within 4 with 3:11 to go.
The Huskies got a steal on the other end but then Nahziah Carter was called for an offensive foul on a charge to kill the UW momentum. UW’s defense again came up huge getting a shot clock violation against a tentative Oregon. Crisp took his turn making an awful decision as he got caught in the air under the basket and instead of handing it to Dickerson, gave the ball to Payton Pritchard for another turnover.
Washington got another stop but down 4 they forced the ball inside with Noah Dickerson and Jaylen Nowell and Kenny Wooten repelled them with a contest and a block. The Huskies got ANOTHER stop and Dickerson was fouled corralling the rebound and got sent to the line. But UW’s luck ran out as Noah’s first miss came on his 11th free throw attempt and Oregon corralled the rebound and hit their last 4 from the line to drop the Huskies by a final score of 72-64.
The difference in the game was outside shooting as Oregon went 11/23 (48%) from deep and the Dawgs could only muster a 5/20 (25%) effort.
David Crisp led Washington in scoring with 19 points although with 3 turnovers. Noah Dickerson had 18 points and 8 boards while Jaylen Nowell was the only other Husky in double figures with 12 points on 4 of 15 shooting (the exact same numbers as the game in Eugene).
The Husky loss locks them into the 7th seed in the Pac-12 tournament and a first round match against the Oregon State Beavers who they’ve already played a pair of super tight games against. That game will take place at 6p on Wednesday, March 7th in Las Vegas.
The defeat also dashes any realistic hopes at an NCAA at-large berth. There’s always the chance that a loss in the finals could suffice but it would still seem quite unlikely. It’s almost certainly win 4 straight or bust in that regard. The Huskies would also be well advised to win that game against OSU if they want to get to the NIT as well. We’ll have more next week but this one is going to sting for a long time.
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