Coming off a thrilling win against Baylor and with a trip to face Tennessee coming later this week there was a risk the Huskies might get caught looking flat. And despite a sloppy low scoring affair the Dawgs pulled away in the final minutes to prevail 56-46 over Mount St. Mary's.
Just like against Baylor the Huskies got an early basket by Isaiah Stewart then went ice cold. Washington's offense looked robotic and disjointed throughout the first half. Early on the Huskies settled for jumpers rather than challenging Mount St. Mary's inside and none of them were falling.
On defense the Huskies opened up playing man to man and the Mountaineers took advantage by getting their center switched onto Quade Green down low. They capitalized on the 9 inch height advantage to take a 6-2 lead.
Washington settled into their zone and neither team could make a bucket although Mount St. Mary's was able to get a number of offensive rebounds to get second chance misses. Elijah Hardy provided a bit of a spark as he came in and nailed a 3-pointer after airballing it earlier in the possession.
Both teams started shooting a little better as Jaden McDaniels made a 3 and Mount St. Mary's knocked one down as well. Still, the Huskies turned it over repeatedly while Mount St. Mary's worked the shot clock down to near 0 and got a shot off even if it was contested. Washington ended the half with 7 blocks and forcing 3 shot clock violations but just 3 turnovers leading to 1 fast break opportunity.
Both teams went to the break tied at 21 with Washington shooting 35% from the floor, 22% from the 3pt line, and 25% from the FT line.
Hameir Wright provided a spark with 4 points in the first minute of the 2nd half. Washington's defense seemed energized and Washington got a pair of turnovers off of well executed traps. But after a shot clock beating contested jumper by Naz Carter the Mountaineers hit a tough 3-pointer to keep the score in reach.
Both teams went cold again before Jaden McDaniels found Isaiah Stewart under the basket for a thunderous dunk. A pair of Stewart free throws and Bey layup put the Dawgs up 7 at 33-26 and it looked like Washington was finally ready to assert their dominance.
But Stewart was called for his 3rd foul and left the game and over the next few minutes Mount St. Mary's went on an 8-0 run with a pair of 3's to take the lead with 11:24 remaining. Hameir Wright once again jump started the UW offense with a made 3-pointer and shortly after a re-inserted Stewart got a layup. That plus a pair of steals had the crowd fully engaged for the first time all night.
The play of the night though came as Naz Carter got a full head of steam in transition along the baseline and came in for a high-flying, soul-stealing dunk that brought the house down.
The Mountaineers got a nice up and under layup on the next possession to kill the mood and the scoring run. Washington scored on 4 of their next 5 possessions but Mount St. Mary's hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep themselves down by only 7 at 49-42 with 6:10 left.
Both teams went scoreless over the next 3 minutes although the refs missed a blatant goaltend against the Mountaineers as a Washington transition layup hit the backboard before getting swatted. After Mount St. Mary's ended the scoring drought Washington scored on its next 3 possessions including another thunderous Carter dunk and a contested pull-up long 2 by Jaden McDaniels. The Mountaineers went scoreless over the final 1:46 and it allowed the Dawgs to cruise at the end to a 10-point victory.
Isaiah Stewart led all scorers with 16 points and 4 rebounds while Naz Carter also got to double figures with 14 points and 3 boards.
The Huskies will travel next to Toronto where they'll take on the Tennessee Volunteers on ESPN+.
Double Bonus Dots
- After an incredible Washington debut Jaden McDaniels was pretty terrible on offense tonight. He took about 5 of 6 pull-up long 2’s and hit one of them and finished with 5 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, but 5 turnovers. Several of those misses should just be considered turnovers as well. Especially when he had the ball 1v3 in transition and pulled up with no possibility for a UW rebound since no one else was down the court. I worried about Jaden’s shot selection coming in. And he’s capable of making those tough shots as he did against Baylor. But if they’re not falling the Huskies need him to play more within the flow of the offense.
- While the offense was brutal for much of the night the defense was largely fantastic. Mount St. Mary’s started out shooting 19% over the first 12 minutes of the game and somehow had the lead at that point due to the terrible UW shooting start. The Huskies got lax on a couple of open corner 3’s in the second half but Mount St. Mary’s also made several long and/or contested ones to keep it close.
- This team feels like it should be spectacular in transition with all of their athletes but this is now 2 games where we’ve largely just seen missed bunnies or blocked layups with no passing when they Huskies get a steal. Something to watch for.
- We are now through 80 minutes of the season and the Huskies have never led by more than 10 points. That means there hasn’t been a chance to fully open up the rotation. Sam Timmins and Nate Roberts once again played for only a few minutes combined while Coach Hopkins went with essentially just 7 guys. That means 0 sightings of Bryan Penn-Johnson, RaeQuan Battle, or Marcus Tsohonis. The latter of whom was going through warmups after missing the previous game with a concussion. There’s still the possibility of Battle and/or Tsohonis redshirting but we likely won’t know until next Tuesday night when Washington plays #322 ranked Maine.
- The game against Tennessee is on ESPN+. That means you need more than just an ESPN cable subscription and the game won’t be on TV. Plan accordingly. If you sign up for Disney+ which came out today then ESPN+ will be included in that subscription. I’ll have more info on that as I research it in advance of Saturday’s game.
You can follow me @UWDP_Maxvroom for all your UW Men’s Basketball news and notes