In the midst of Washington’s nine game conference losing streak, the Huskies have suffered some poor luck that has only exacerbated what has been a season-breaking and fan-scattering run. That luck lost seemed to all come back to them and then some as the Huskies (13-15, 3-12) dominated the visiting Cal Golden Bears (11-16, 5-9) 87-52 in Seattle on Sunday afternoon.
Cal came into the game having won their first road game of the season on their visit to the Palouse just a few days before. That win seemed to fuel the Bears as they got off to a hot start against the UW zone defense. A couple of quick fouls, a technical and a couple of jumpers from Cal guard Matt Bradley helped the Bears get a quick 12 points on the board.
Fortunately, the Huskies’ Nahziah Carter was equally as hot. The first offensive play of the game was a nice scripted one that resulted in a clean jumper for Naz from the elbow that he easily drained. He would go on to score the UW’s first seven points and keep Washington neck and neck with Cal going into the first official timeout of the half.
That’s when the Huskies turned on the afterburners. A stifling zone defense, a trio of three pointers by Hameir Wright, and some excellent all-around play from Jaden McDaniels led Washington to a blistering 26-6 run to close out the half. All told, the Dawgs held Cal to just four first-half field goals as they exited with a 43-26 lead.
The second half kicked off with Washington continuing their hot streak. Marcus Tsohonis joined the parade with three triples before the first official timeout to help extend the Huskies lead 54-28, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Bears. During that official break, Cal forward Andre Kelly expressed his own frustrations in a demonstrable way earning himself a technical and a fifth-foul DQ with 15:45 to play.
Washington cruised the rest of the way. The only intrigue that really kept fans fascinated was the open question as to whether or not Jaden McDaniels could record the first triple-double in Washington history. Alas, it was not to be. An ill-advised flagrant foul on a play where he got the ball knocked out of his hands led to his benching for the remainder of the game.
This was probably the kind of game that Coach Mike Hopkins expected to see more commonly when he kicked off conference play. Having his big three - Carter (16 points), Isaiah Stewart (15 pts) and McDaniels (12 pts) - pace the team offensively, getting timely threes from guys like Wright and RaeQuan Battle and boasting stifling defense seems like the blueprint that Coach Hop had designed for the season. That the Huskies finally put a complete game like this together has to be encouraging for him and for the team as a whole.
Washington has just three games left in the season and won’t play again until their home finale against Washington State next Friday.
- UW freshman Isaiah Stewart had one of the best games of any player on the floor despite not putting up huge statsheet numbers. Whether he was anchoring the UW zone, pulling defenders away from the rim to create room for teammates or making the extra pass, he was stellar for the Huskies.
- After coming in early once Jamal Bey got into foul trouble, Jaden McDaniels gave UW some really good minutes (flagrant foul aside). He played assignment-sound defense, seemed interested in keeping the ball moving with his passing and made really good choices with his shot selections to help keep the UW offense moving throughout the game. Despite that mind boggling flagrant, he still finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and a block.
- PG Marcus Tsohonis had his best game as a Dawg finishing with 11 points and 3 of 5 from out deep.
- “Are you kidding me? That’s a rookie freakin’ move”
Those were the words hollered at the ref by Mike Hopkins after the UW head coach got teed up for stepping over the sideline marker just 1:35 into the first half. #pac12refs
- The Bears really struggled with the Huskies defense all night. They converted just 11 field goals as a team for the entire game. 27 of their 51 points were scored from the free throw line.
- After having played just one minute earlier in the week against Stanford, Hopkins went back to Elijah Hardy early in the first half. After a defensive blunder and long throw away pass across the court, Hardy was pulled within an minute. He did not make another appearance until garbage time at the end of the game.
- On a positive note, how about some love for UW senior Sam Timmins. He recorded both a three point and an ‘and-one’ three-point play in the same game for (someone fact check me on this) what I believe is the first time in his career.
- Let’s give Cal some credit here... they did #drop50 on UW tonight