The Washington offense has been relying on their defense to pick up the slack after consecutive sloppy efforts to start the year. Unfortunately, the Huskies weren’t up to the task on either side of the court and Tennessee rolled to a 75-62 win in Toronto over the Dawgs and drop them to 2-1 on the young season.
It was another ugly start for Washington’s offense. Isaiah Stewart proved that if he got the ball down low with decent position that it would be an automatic bucket as he made a pair of baskets off post moves in the first two minutes. But Tennessee moved the ball beautifully and repeatedly found open shots including a pair of 3-pointers and led 12-5 at the under 16 timeout.
Isaiah Stewart made another jump hook to end a 9-0 run by Tennessee but shortly after was called for his 2nd foul and briefly left the game. The Huskies were able to keep pace for a little while as Jaden McDaniels made a pair of long 2’s and Naz Carter got a tip dunk shortly after having an earlier dunk attempt rejected at the rim. However, the Volunteers continued to slice and dice the Husky zone.
Repeatedly they got the ball to an open man in the high post and turned to sink the basket. Washington’s upset of Kansas 2 years ago revolved around the Jayhawks missing that shot but after about 4 consecutive makes the Huskies finally decided to mix things up.
With 6 minutes left and trailing by 10 Coach Hopkins inserted Elijah Hardy in and the team switched to man-to-man defense. Both teams entered a bit of a scoring drought over the next few minutes with multiple sloppy turnovers or poor shots on each side before Tennessee hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 13 with 2:16 left in the half. Isaiah Stewart hit his first jump shot of the season but the Vols answered by getting a ridiculous roll when an Yves Pons 3-pointer hit the front of the rim, went about 8 feet in the air and went in to extend the lead to a high of 14 points. Naz Carter hit a nice floater and got a transition dunk off a great pass by Quade Green to seemingly wrest back some momentum but UT beat the Husky press for a dunk to head into the half up 40-28. No Husky player scored in the 1st half except for Carter (12), Stewart (10), and McDaniels (6).
Washington seemingly got off to a great start to the second half as Naz Carter came off a curl for a dunk then had a nice contest and defensive rebound. But Quade Green wasn’t ready for his pass and it was stolen and went the other way for a layup. After a missed 3 by Hameir Wright he then committed shooting fouls on consecutive defensive possessions which were his 3rd and 4th of the game forcing him to the bench. The last of those free throws put the Vols up 48-34.
Quade Green finally hit his first 3-pointer in a Husky uniform after Stewart passed out of a double team and it was also the first Washington basket from someone other than their 3 stars. Things got a little sloppy as both sides were scoreless from the 15:00 mark to the 12:00 minute mark before Naz Carter got a steal and layed it in fouling a Euro step move. On the next possession Sam Timmins was able to put back a miss by Carter and cut the lead to 7.
Unfortunately, that was the closest that the Dawgs would get the rest of the night after Tennessee answered with a 3-pointer from several feet beyond the arc. Jaden McDaniels hit a 3-pointer to get it back to 7 but Tennessee made baskets on 3 consecutive possessions to keep the lead hovering around 10 points and it would remain that way the rest of the way.
Washington had 5 turnovers in about 4 minutes after trailing by double digits with 6 minutes to go to seal their fate. The Huskies switched to a press defense and were called for fouls on about 5 of 7 possessions while Tennessee hit their free throws and eliminated any chance at a comeback like Washington pulled off against Baylor (they finished 19/24 at the line).
Nahziah Carter led the Dawgs with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Isaiah Stewart added 14 points and 10 rebounds as UW wasted a pair of double doubles. Washington returns to action back in Seattle on Tuesday when they take on Maine in the first of 5 straight home games against teams ranked 100th or worse at KenPom. Coach Hopkins needs to use that stretch to get this team playing much better.
Double Bonus Dots
- I think it’s officially time to start hitting the panic button on the Washington offense. We’ve gotten through 3 games and there’s just no flow or ability to score in the half court unless they can drop the ball down low to Stewart.
- Jaden McDaniels is going to be the most frustrating Husky to come along in a long time. The talent is so tantalizing but he has some of the worst shot selection I’ve ever seen in my life. Almost every drive results in a pull up long 2-pointer and he hits just enough of them to make you think maybe it isn’t a terrible shot (it is). He finished the day with 15 points on 6/17 shooting and 5 turnovers. This team won’t get better until he stops taking those shots and replaces them with drives to the hoop and free throws.
- Quade Green finally made some shots and finished with 10 points to become the 4th Husky scorer in double figures plus 6 assists. But it came along with 4 turnovers several of the shake your head variety. The Huskies are going to need him to play better if they want to compete in the Pac-12 this season.
- Outside of the 4 primary scorers they got a combined 5 points from Jamal Bey, Hameir Wright, Sam Timmins, Elijah Hardy and Nate Roberts. Wright stepped up in the first two games to provide spacing but he was in foul trouble almost from the jump and ended up with a trio of missed 3-pointers (although somehow with 5 assists).
- The offense was ugly but the defense was almost as bad especially in the first half. Tennessee had open looks all over the court and made Washington pay every time. Things got a little better in the second half as Tennessee wound up shooting 47.2% from the field and 46.2% from 3-pt range after being above 50% in both categories at halftime. But whenever it looked like the Huskies were on the verge of a comeback they’d miss a rotation and the Vols would hit a midrange jumper. I can’t wait for the Synergy Sports shot chart to come out for this game as it seemed like Tennessee shot about 80% on 8-15 foot jumpers.
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