The Husky seniors had never defeated Utah and that clearly was extra motivation that fueled a tremendous defensive effort in a 69-53 road win in Salt Lake City.
Washington’s defense flummoxed Utah right from the jump as the first Utes possession resulted in a shot clock violation following a Matisse Thybulle blocked 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Utah clearly didn’t respect Hameir Wright on offense and it allowed him to take the Huskies’ first 4 shot attempts of which he made 2. He also had a nice assist out to Green for a wide open 3 giving the Huskies a 9-2 early lead.
Donnie Tillman for Utah started making some 3-pointers and the Utes were able to come back and take the lead at 15-13 with with 11 minutes left. And from there David Crisp took over. No, seriously. Over the next 3 minutes Crisp hit 4 shots from beyond the arc and helped give the Huskies a 25-19 lead with 8:06 remaining in the half.
That hot streak from deep slowed down for the Huskies and Utah began to figure out how to attack the middle of the zone and they kept things close in a back and forth effort for the rest of the half. Noah Dickerson was called for an offensive foul trying to get position about 5 seconds after checking into the game and was immediately pulled with 2 fouls. That led to Sam Timmins coming in and making some typically Sam Timmins plays but also scoring 4 points in the last 4 minutes plus blocking 3 shots. The last of those ended the half after Naz Carter hit a 3 with 5 seconds left. UW was ahead 38-30 at the half led by David Crisp’s 14 points and with Noah/Matisse/Jaylen combining for just 2 points.
Noah Dickerson came out of witness protection at the start of the 2nd half and went on a personal 7-0 run which extended the Husky lead out to 15 and it looked like Washington might run away and hide. But if you know this Washington team then you know it can’t be that easy. Hameir Wright continued taking 3-pointers and he continued missing them and long rebounds allowed Utah to get out in transition a couple of times.
Sedrick Barefield drained a 3-pointer to bring the game to 47-42 and had the ball with a chance to make it even closer after a Sam Timmins travel. But Washington got a stop and after that David Crisp and Naz Carter made some big plays. Crisp hit a pull up 3-pointer he almost always misses then found Carter on the lob play for a thunderous dunk. Carter also stepped into a 3-pointer and hit an isolation free throw line jumper to close out a 12-0 UW run extending the lead to 59-42 with 8 minutes left.
From there the Huskies were able to coast despite the offense taking their foot of the gas a little over the final 5 minutes. But Utah continued to miss shot after shot from deep and that meant that the Husky lead stayed above double digits the rest of the way. Utah finally hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the game to make the final score 69-53.
Washington with the win improves to 11-4 (2-0) on the season. They’ll take the court on Saturday night at Colorado in what is one of the toughest places to play in the country with the altitude.
Double Bonus Dots
- The game ball tonight clearly goes to Naz Carter who set a career high with 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. He must be learning from Jaylen Nowell because he looks so good pulling up at the free throw line and has a silky smooth jumper from there. His 3-pt numbers on the season are still poor but there’s a dramatic difference in how well he shoots when he has the ability to set his feet. If he doesn’t let the success go to his head and plays within himself then he will absolutely be a double digit point scorer the rest of the way.
- Conversely, Jaylen Nowell had one of the worst scoring nights of his career. He finished with just 6 points on 3 of 14 shooting. Only 1 of those shots was from deep as Utah planned for the drive and were able to consistently alter his shot. But he still found ways to contribute as he had a career high 12 rebounds and chipped in with 5 assists and 2 steals.
- Hameir Wright’s offense is officially a problem. He is getting nothing but wide open looks but he’s still missing him. It has entered sophomore year Dominic Green territory. He was 0/6 from deep and at one point in the game led the team in shots. If Wright wants to take 3 wide open 3-pointers to keep the defense honest I’m ok with that but 6 is too many and his defense only goes so far if he’s a complete black hole on offense.
- Matisse Thybulle also was almost invisible with Naz Carter’s emergence. He finished with 4 points on just 4 shots and all came after halftime. But on the defensive end Thybulle continued to be a menace and had 4 blocks. Unfortunately, he wasn’t credited with a steal which ends his streak of 60 consecutive games with a steal and leaves him tied for 4th place all-time in the conference.
- David Crisp carried Washington in the 1st half with his 4 consecutive 3-pointers. He was slowed substantially in the second half as he hit just one of them. It’s great to see him hit the long range shots again but he went 0/6 inside the arc tonight as Utah stymied Washington at the rim. Crisp is shooting 62.5% from 3 now over the past 3 games and while that is unsustainable it would be a huge boost if he shoots even 35% from here on out.
- Noah Dickerson had an abysmal 1st half but he came up big in the 2nd half to finish when he had all 13 of his points despite uncharacteristically missing the front end of a 1-and-1 near the end of the game.
- Washington made the Utes uncomfortable all night long as Utah kept shooting and just kept missing. They finished 6/30 (20%) from 3-point range for a team that entered the game leading the conference in that category and who had shot a combined 27/51 (53%) from deep in their previous 2 contests. This was the kind of effort shutting down outside shooting that we saw all last season and it’d be fantastic if they can unleash that weapon again now.
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