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Instant Reaction: Washington Hoops Survives Cal-State Fullerton Upset Bid

The Huskies struggled with the Titans in their final tune-up before PAC 12 play begins.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Washington (9-4) defeated Cal-State Fullerton (4-10) by a score of 84-76 on Tuesday night in Seattle.

The veteran CS Fullerton club traveled to Washington in hopes of finding their first victory over a Top 50 team in their sixth try this season. The Titans have had some close calls including a double overtime affair at Arizona State top open the season. But it was not to be.

CSF claimed and then held on to an early lead by combining great ball movement around C Jackson Rowe and sharpshooting from wing Khalil Ahmad. At their height, the Titans led UW by 12 points eight minutes into the second half.

But as has been the case with Washington all year, the Huskies saved their best for the end of the game. An active defense produced 14 points on turnovers overlapping 12 fast break helping UW overcome CSF’s lead midway through the second half. After trading a few haymakers with the Titans, the Dawgs finally broke away at around the three minutes to play mark in the second half.

Washington was led on the night by Jaylen Nowell. Despite a very slow start, Nowell still managed to pace the UW offense finishing the night with 18 points on 8 of 16 shooting. PG David Crisp had an efficient night with 11 points and just one turnover. In addition, Noah Dickerson led the team with 12 rebounds.

The attendance at the game was very light, even after adjusting for the fact that the Washington Huskies football team had just a few hours earlier suffered a demoralizing loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. My best estimate in the absence of an official statement is that roughly 1,500 fans were on hand.

Washington opens up PAC 12 play this Saturday when they host Washington State (7-6).


  • The trend of UW trailing at the half only to come back to win the game continues. UW was outscored by CSF 42-34 in the first half. They reversed that by outscoring the Titans 48-34 in the second.
  • One of the key adjustments for Mike Hopkins was how they defended the three. CSF got three triples out of Khalil Ahmad in the first ten minutes of the game. The Dawgs then clamped down by not allowing another three point conversion until Ahmad converted on with 90 seconds left to play in the game.
  • It was a weird night for Jaylen Nowell. He didn’t even attempt his FG until the game clock reached 8:48 in the first half. He didn’t get his points until a little the 3:22 mark. Interestingly, every single player who registered an appearance, including Sam Timmins, had an attempt before Nowell took his first.
  • Speaking of Sam Timmins, PAC 12 Networks color analyst Bill Walton raised a few eyebrows when he noted that Timmins was making a case to be the “PAC 12 Center of the Year”. Go ahead and pass that bong this way, Billy my boy.
  • I was interested to see how aggressively Matisse Thybulle worked to create some offense for himself, particularly in the first half. Thybulle finished with 13 points on 4 of 10 shooting. I will be curious if Thybulle will continue to look to insert himself offensively once PAC 12 play kicks off.
  • Here is a news flash: Naz Carter hit a 3 pointer. It was just his fifth three of the season.
  • With starting forward Hameir Wright sidelined with an injury, Dominic Green got the start tonight. The Husky senior had 10 points including two three-pointers.
  • Mike Hopkins spent much of the night animated and fuming on the sidelines. He lost his jacket just moments before Nowell scored his first points in the first half and stayed standing (and hollering) for most of the night. His greatest agitator seemed to be how slowly the Washington defense was rotating when CSF was executing its half court offense.
  • Interesting non-basketball dot: Cal-State Fullerton Baseball has been to 17 College World Series.