In the first chance for the Husky faithful to see the new look Washington men’s basketball team in person, the Dawgs showed out and were able to coast to an 87-63 victory over Western Washington in a home exhibition contest.
Washington took no time in seizing control of the game although the offense needed a little while to get going. At the under 16 timeout Hameir Wright led the Huskies in scoring with 4 points for a 6-2 lead.
The Husky defense led by Jaden McDaniels terrorized Western and the Vikings really struggled to get off a shot against UW's length. Isaiah Stewart had his 2nd transition dunk of the game to put the Dawgs up 20-5 with 12:56 left in the 1st half.
Western eventually found a few cracks in the defense behind made 3's and some over eager defense leading to fouls. They were able to play the Huskies even for the next few minutes and keep it in range at 31-16.
However, some hot 3-pt shooting from Jamal Bey and a few Jaden McDaniels transition dunks allowed Washington to reassert themselves and double up Western at the half by a score of 46-23. Western shot just 25% from the field and had 13 turnovers at the break while the Huskies made 59% of their shots.
The Vikings were able to make a mini run after the half and closed it to within 20 after hitting a couple of open 3's leading to a Coach Hopkins timeout. The game became a foul-fest in the middle of the half as Washington was quickly in the double bonus.
Unfortunately, the Dawgs struggled at the line and Washington failed to pull away much further. The Huskies shot just 10/24 (41.7%) from the charity stripe in the 2nd half including several misses on the front end of 1-and-1's. Meanwhile, Western’s 3-point shot finally started falling and they wound up shooting 8/16 from deep during the 2nd half and 12/32 overall.
McDaniels and Stewart were pulled with about 5 minutes left in the game and the walk-ons saw the court in the final 2 minutes as the Huskies eased into an 87-64 final score.
Washington’s season opens on Friday, November 8th in Anchorage, Alaska against Baylor as part of the Armed Forces Classic.
Double Bonus Dots
- Jaden McDaniels- There was some worry about Jaden after he didn't make the trips to either Italy or the secret scrimmage at TCU. But the true freshman showed why he was a 5 star, especially on the defensive end. He was a menace on that end with his combination of length and agility to stay in front of opposing drivers. There were three errant transition passes which isn't surprising to see in a game like this but otherwise it was a very encouraging start. He finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals.
- Isaiah Stewart- He is going to kill teams with transition dunks all season and he had several tonight. It's a shock when he misses in the post but he was slightly off tonight. If 14 and 11 on 7/13 shooting is an off night though, I'll take it.
- Jamal Bey- He led the team in scoring with 20 points including a team high trio of 3-pointers despite not getting the official start (although he was 2nd in minutes played). Bey was asked to play point for most of the game when Elijah Hardy sat and was solid in that regard with 4 assists against 2 turnovers. He also had a team high 5 steals although a few of those were poked away by teammates and recovered by Bey.
- Naz Carter- He was the final double digit scorer for the Huskies finishing with 11 points and a team high 5 assists. Naz was aggressive attacking the basket and got fouled a ton but made just 5 of 9 from the line.
- Elijah Hardy- Solid but not spectacular was the through line for Hardy as the starting PG. The team generally played man-to-man when he was on the floor which goes along with Hop’s off-season comments that he’s their best 1-on-1 perimeter defender. Hardy generally was looking to set others up but he did hit a couple of off the dribble jumpers later in the shot clock. Hardy finished with 6 points and tied Carter with 5 assists in 20 minutes of play.
- Hameir Wright- It has always been about confidence for Wright and he had plenty of it tonight. His 9 points would have tied his season high from last year and Wright was assertive attacking the basket and shooting the ball when he was given daylight. The good news is that he was 4/5 from the floor but the bad news was he also had 3 terrible live ball turnovers on no chance passes. Still, progress.
- Sam Timmins- The Kiwi was the second player off the bench for Washington and came in for Isaiah Stewart and then playing alongside him once Stewart came back in. He had a couple of nice anticipation moves on defense that in previous years he wouldn’t have made. But his hands are still not great. He finished with 2 points on a dunk and 3 rebounds in 7 minutes.
- Nate Roberts/Bryan Penn-Johnson- The two redshirt freshmen big men combined for 6 points and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes. BPJ had shown off a nice baby hook move in Italy and he was 1 of 2 with it tonight against a legit 7-footer for Western. He was also overeager on defense though and committed 4 fouls plus an obvious goaltend. Roberts still has those incredibly strong and sticky hands he showed off in Italy but didn’t get a ton of chances. Each of them were 0/3 from the foul line which will need to change for them to see more time.
- RaeQuan Battle- We saw the quick release shot from Battle as he went 1/3 from behind the 3-pt line and finished with 5 points. This team clearly needs shooting at least with Quade Green ineligible for now so he’ll have a chance to seize minutes if he’s making shots until then.
- Marcus Tsohonis- Unfortunately he appeared to be the odd man out as he only played 2 minutes late in the first half and was the only Husky scholarship player not to attempt or make a shot. During that brief appearance he was involved in a collision and suffered an injury to his mouth which prevented him from getting any time in the 2nd half.
- Now ex-Husky Dominic Green’s younger brother Jalen started for Western although he had a rough night with 7 points on 2/12 shooting plus 4 fouls and 4 turnovers.