The Washington Huskies have been due for a clunker for the better part of 6 weeks and it finally arrived in a blowout loss at Arizona State by a score of 75-63. The Dawgs put forth a failing effort on both ends of the court and it led to them dropping their first conference game and snapping their 12-game winning streak. They fall to 19-5 (10-1) on the season but still own a 3-game lead in the conference standings.
After their terrible home loss to Washington State on Thursday, the Sun Devils came out focused and got out to an early 5-0 lead on a very deep 3-pointer by Luguentz Dort. Washington took the punch and then countered behind some surprising play from Sam Timmins who got the start for Noah Dickerson. Timmins made a midrange jumper for possibly the first time ever and had a nice spin move for an up and under layup and the Huskies took an 11-7 lead after 5 minutes.
However, Arizona State figured out how to attack the Husky zone and they repeatedly got the ball to Cheatham in the high post who dished a bounce pass to Romello White on the baseline for a dunk. The play worked over and over and helped spark a 9-0 ASU run. That was made possible in part because Washington’s shooting looked like it did in the non-conference. The Huskies went scoreless for 5 minutes before Jaylen Nowell made a pair of free throws. It didn’t help that David Crisp injured his right shoulder falling hard on the court after getting fouled trying to make a layup. He continued to play but missed his last 5 shots of the half after that point while grabbing it during every dead ball.
Arizona State had what felt like about 7 travels as part of 13 first half turnovers to keep the Huskies in the game despite their incompetent shooting. Noah Dickerson had a span where he made 3 straight circus shots and could’ve gotten an and-1 on any of them (he got none). Then on the other end Noah took an elbow to the chest in the circle that was called an and-1 against him for his 3rd foul. Matisse Thybulle made one of a pair of 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds to pull the Huskies to within single digits at 26-34 at the half. The make brought Washington up to...3 of 16 from 3-point range.
The feeling was that how Washington reacted coming out of the half would dictate whether they could get back into it. And it did. Unfortunately that meant a UW turnover followed by an ASU putback dunk where no one even attempted to box out. Hop immediately called timeout and spent the entire time chewing out the team.
The teams traded 3-pointers out of the timeout and then traded airballs during an ugly stretch where neither team scored in 3 minutes. Unfortunately, the Sun Devils broke out of their slump first as Dickerson picked up his 4th foul and was forced to the bench. It was a sign of how things were going when Remy Martin pulled up from 34 feet and swished a 3 to extend the Arizona State lead to 14. A spin move for a layup and transition dunk by Romello White on the next 2 possessions completed a 9-0 run for ASU extending the lead to 18 at 50-32 with 13:20 left.
Washington made a valiant run but it was too little too late. As a 10-0 Washington run sparked by Crisp and Nowell 3’s brought the game to within 7. At that point the game became an ugly free throw shooting contest as there was a foul called on almost every possession. Noah Dickerson missed several free throws and the Huskies weren’t able to take advantage as the lead hovered around 10 points for the rest of the game.
Noah Dickerson led the Huskies with 18 points and 8 rebounds while Romello White led four double-digit scorers for ASU with 17 points. The Huskies’ take the court next on Saturday the 16th at Washington State who are suddenly riding a 2-game winning streak.
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- Hameir Wright missed his 2nd straight game due to illness and the Huskies really could’ve used him soaking up minutes considering that both Noah Dickerson and Sam Timmins were in considerable foul trouble all game. At this point I’d be shocked if Bryan Penn-Johnson does not try to redshirt as he is still unavailable despite the Huskies being down to just 2 bigs.
- Washington settled for 3-point shots all night and just weren’t able to make the open ones. They also took plenty of off-balance or rushed 3-pointers and very rarely tried to run a polished offense. The team finished 10 of 32 on shots behind the arc. David Crisp was 4 of 14. That’s just way too many.
- The Arizona State offense had 24 turnovers and still won by double digits. That’s because they shot 62% from the field. It’s been a long time since the Husky defense looked this terrible. At least 10 of those turnovers were travels/carries and had little to do with what the Huskies were doing or this could’ve been a 20+ point loss. Remy Martin and Luguentz Dort were too quick for the UW defenders and were able to penetrate past Thybulle/Crisp/Carter/Bey to dish it on the baseline. Zylan Cheatham also carved Washington up from the high post and had 7 assists while Dort and Martin combined for 11 as well.
- Noah Dickerson was the only UW player who seemed to take the loss personally. He got hacked over and over down low as no one else for the Huskies was able to get much done offensively. He missed 4 free throws but that obviously wasn’t the difference in the game.
- With the win, Arizona State will move back into the top-75 of the NET meaning the Huskies still are without a truly bad loss. But this was the toughest game left on the schedule and the final 7 games won’t move the needle towards an NCAA berth outside of just avoiding a loss. I can’t imagine the Huskies getting back into the top-25 at any point this season given the conference’s national reputation even if they now win out. Washington is still in good shape to earn an at-large berth but it’s essentially impossible for them to do any better than a #6 seed and something between a 7-9 seed seems more likely.
- Washington gets a full week to rest up after a week in which Noah Dickerson sprained his ankle, David Crisp injured his shoulder, and several players had the flu. Let’s hope the team is able to use the mini-bye to get fully healthy and re-energized for the stretch run.
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