Utah entered their game with Washington as the most efficient offense in the Pac-12 but the Huskies put an end to that in a dominant defensive effort to propel them to a 62-45 victory.
The Huskies trailed by 14 points in the 1st half against Washington State last Saturday night and they got off to a similarly slow start against Utah. Matisse Thybulle kept the Huskies in the game though almost entirely by himself over the first 8 minutes. He had 3 blocks and a steal in the first 7 minutes of the game as a one man wrecking crew on defense while making UW’s first two 3-pointers of the game.
But despite 2 of those blocks coming against Utah’s leading scorer Sedrick Barefield, the Utah PG managed to find space behind the arc and knocked down his first 4 3-pointers to propel Utah to a 17-7 lead with 12:48 remaining in the half. That stood in stark contrast to the first Utah-Washington contest when he had just 6 points total. Washington was getting open looks but just couldn’t seem to get the ball in the basket as their first four shots were all misses from within 7-feet of the rim.
Naz Carter came into the game and provided a spark though as he made a couple of nice layups and finished an alley-oop dunk from David Crisp to bring Washington to within one at 22-23 with a little over 5 minutes left in the half. It also didn’t hurt that Barefield picked up his 2nd foul with 8 minutes left and didn’t return for the rest of the half. That definitely stymied Utah’s offense and the Utes went the final 4:37 of the half without making a field goal.
Meanwhile, Jaylen Nowell had a couple of nice drives and David Crisp pulled off an acrobatic fastbreak up and under layup for the Huskies. But Dominic Green punctuated the half with a buzzer beating 3 that put Washington up by a score of 33-27. Naz finished the half with 8 points while Matisse also had 8 and added 3 blocks and 3 steals.
Washington’s defense continued to shut down the Utes out of the break as Utah missed their first 8 shots and committed 8 turnovers in the first 10+ minutes of the half. The final tally: Utah went an astounding 15:48 without a field goal between the two halves. Washington’s offense during that time didn’t exactly light the world on fire but you can’t help but open up a double digit lead when the defense puts on that kind of a performance.
The Husky lead ballooned out to 22 points before Coach Hopkins started to pull the starters with 3 minutes left and Washington held a 60-38 lead. The walk-ons finally got into the game with 44 seconds left and the Huskies up by 17 and Jason Crandall got an offensive rebound with 20 seconds left to seal the game.
It was a balanced scoring attack for the Huskies who had 5 players end in double figure scoring but Naz Carter led them with just 12 points. Matisse Thybulle finished with a prototypical 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals, and 4 blocks stat line.
The win moves Washington to 21-5 (12-1) and draws them closer to clinching the #1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.
Double Bonus Dots
- Sam Timmins did the near impossible by fouling out in just 5 minutes of play. 2 of them were going after loose balls and one was a charge barreling down the lane on the P&R.
- Sedrick Barefield led Utah with 12 points, all of which were scored in the first 7+ minutes. Somehow Utah shot just 6 of 26 (23%) on 2-pt shots.
- Dominic Green has continued to impress me with the little things he does on the court and he finished this game with 6 rebounds including several contested ones to save possession for UW.
- Those rebounds were huge because UW was being outrebounded 21-10 at one point in the early going. But the Huskies started putting up a fight and the margin ended up 39-35 in UW’s favor by the end.
- This might have been the best game of the season for Washington in keeping possession of the ball as they had just 2 first half turnovers and 9 overall. Crisp and Dickerson were the culprits with 3 each and two of Crisp’s turnovers were forcing entry passes to Noah down low when he wasn’t open.
- Naz Carter led the Huskies in scoring in both games against Utah this season as he had 18 in the first meeting and 12 tonight.
- A prime UW target for 2020 was in the building to watch the defensive masterpiece tonight
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