Washington flirted with danger in their first true road game of the season but they overcame a sloppy start to pull out a 72-61 victory over Hawai’i in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic. Isaiah Stewart dominated inside for Washington with 26 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out to help the Huskies improve to 10-2 on the season while Hawai’i drops to 8-4.
Both teams drew a foul on the opening possession but Hawai’i made both free throws while Isaiah Stewart missed both. Luckily the Huskies came up with the offensive rebound on the second miss and Stewart made up for it with a layup. Washington had 3 turnovers in the first 2 minutes of the game including Jaden McDaniels dribbling off his foot out of bounds after securing a defensive rebound.
Washington’s defense continued to get stops on Hawai’i and the Rainbow Warriors didn’t make their first basket until 7:38 into the game and yet Washington only held a 6-4 lead. The Huskies committed 6 turnovers and missed all of their 3-point attempts at the under 12 timeout.
The sloppy play for Washington continued as Jamal Bey went for the Matisse Thybulle block from behind on the FT line jumper and instead committed a foul while the ball went in the basket. Hameir Wright came down on the next possession and was called for a charge driving into the lane for his 4th turnover in the first 10 minutes. Shortly thereafter Jaden McDaniels picked up his 2nd foul boxing out for a defensive rebound and Hawai’i stayed in the game at 10-9 by making all 6 of their free throw attempts.
The Huskies finally knocked down their first jumper when Isaiah Stewart passed out of a double team and Hameir Wright found Jamal Bey open in the corner for a 3-pointer to put Washington up 17-13 with 7:40 remaining. Hawai’i’s 7’0 foot center picked up his 2nd foul on an over the back and Washington made an extra effort to get the ball to Isaiah Stewart. He made a pair of layups between a missed 3-pointer (his first attempt in 5 games, wait another 5 games before another one Isaiah) which stretched the Husky lead out to 6 prompting a Hawai’i timeout.
Coming out of the timeout he made another 3 baskets including 1 of 2 on elbow jumpers and Washington lead by a score of 25-17 before a Hopkins timeout with 4:17 left to get Stewart a breather. The Huskies continued to stretch the lead as Hameir Wright knocked down a pair of free throws and Sam Timmins finished a nice cut to the basket for a layup. Hawai’i made their first 3-pointer of the game on attempt #12 and tried to gain some momentum but their next wide open 3 attempt missed.
The Huskies ran in transition on the long rebound and Stewart sliced through the lane for a thunderous one-handed slam. Shortly after Naz Carter Euro stepped between a pair of defenders in transition for an and-1. Washington held the ball for the last shot but Quade Green threw it away looking for Stewart inside. Hawai’i started to sprint up court but Jaden McDaniels came out of nowhere to strip the ball with 4 seconds left. He realized there was still time and found Carter for a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give UW a commanding 37-22 halftime lead. Stewart lead the way for Washington with 16 points and 5 rebounds at the break while Jaden McDaniels had 8 rebounds despite a slow scoring start.
Just like last night the Huskies immediately threw away all of their momentum as Hawai’i made a pair of 3’s and went on a quick 8-0 run right away. Jaden McDaniels quieted things down a little with his first 3-pointer but had Hawai’i’s 250 pound center land on him after they battled for a rebound and was called for a travel after it appeared he was hacked on an awkward drive to the basket causing him to fall again.
Washington pushed the pace whenever possible on long rebounds and Naz Carter had another nice move to split defenders in transition for a layup to give UW a 15-0 advantage in fastbreak points. Hawai’i countered by throwing bodies at the offensive glass and at the under 12 timeout were +8 on offensive rebounds leading to 14 second chance points.
The Huskies tried getting the ball down low to Isaiah Stewart down low to reestablish control but he could not get a call and meanwhile Hawai’i hit another pair of 3-pointers prompting Hop to call a timeout with 9:25 left and the lead rapidly shrinking to 47-41.
The teams largely traded baskets and turnovers for the next few minutes before Isaiah Stewart and Hameir Wright tried a trap in the corner. Stewart was called for a cylinder violation but Zigmars Raimo swung his elbows and nailed Hameir Wright in the face and was called for a flagrant foul. Wright missed both free throws and the Huskies couldn’t take advantage while it was Stewart’s 4th foul.
Quade Green finally got assertive though and on consecutive possessions got to the rim for a layup and then dished to Isaiah Stewart for a slam with 2 minutes left to put Washington up by 12 points. Stewart came back on the other end and decided not to contest a transition layup but still got in the way and fouled out.
Washington can never play a straightforward end of a game however and Jaden McDaniels was called for a technical on a made Naz Carter free throw for taunting. Hawai’i made both and then nailed four (!?!) consecutive 3-pointers in the final 67 seconds. Meanwhile, Washington kept inbounding the ball to Hameir Wright and Hawai’i was more than happy to continue fouling him. Luckily the Huskies made just enough free throws and had just large enough cushion to prevent it from getting truly interesting.
Washington will square off against Houston on Christmas Day at 5:30p PT in the tournament final. The Dawgs and Cougars were the clear cut best two teams entering the weekend and we’ll get the tournament final we were all hoping for.
Double Bonus Dots
- This was a bizarre game in a lot of ways. Eddie Stansberry was Hawai’i’s leading scorer entering the game at 18.5 points per game but went an appalling 1 of 17 from the field; all 3-pointers. Hawai’i started the game just 5 of 33 from deep before hitting 4 consecutive shots in a 45 second span at the end of the game.
- This was an extremely chippy game as Hawai’i kept missing 3’s leading to long rebounds and piles of 4 players jumping for the ball simultaneously. As noted in the recap Zigmars Raimo got a flagrant for swinging his elbows and Jaden McDaniels was involved in several incidents while getting a technical for one of them. The refs started out the game calling it tight but gradually let more and more things go as the contest went on.
- Turnovers once again could’ve been the doom for Washington as they finished with 17 on the night (4 by Wright and Green, 3 by McDaniels, and 2 by Carter, Stewart, and Bey). Combine that with the 19(!?!) offensive rebounds that Hawai’i got and the Rainbow Warriors took 22 more shots than Washington. It took a legendarily bad shooting night from Hawai’i (which was partly due to good UW defense) for the Huskies to hold on.
- They did so despite some very poor shooting of their own. It’s tough to say how much of it was due to playing on back to back days. Washington went 3 of 15 from the 3-pt line and some late makes at the free throw line salvaged the night at 21/29 from the charity stripe. Isaiah Stewart was 0/3 from the line, 0/2 from deep, and 1/2 on midrange jumpers. He was 12/18 in the paint.
- Speaking of fatigue, Washington again kept the rotations short as Elijah Hardy never got in the game and it was a 7-man show for UW. Luckily the Huskies get one day off before taking on Houston but it could come back to bite Washington in the ass that they couldn’t hold on to their 15-point halftime lead, coast for the last 10 minutes, and get some guys extra rest.
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