It wasn’t always pretty but Washington managed to stretch out the lead late with their small ball lineup and held on for a 72-65 victory over the Texas Southern Tigers. Washington was destroyed on the boards by TSU but forced 21 turnovers and held them to 2/18 from 3-pt range in order to pull out the win. Terrell Brown Jr. led the way for the Dawgs with 20 points and all 9 of Washington’s assists as UW improved to 2-1 on the season.
Neither team early on was able to get a stop. Texas Southern was able to recover 2 loose balls and both times it resulted in UW being out of position and giving up an easy look inside. Terrell Brown Jr. countered with a pair of pull-up midrange jumpers that swished through the net. The Huskies were to first team to break serve when Brown intercepted a pass and dished it off to Emmitt Matthews Jr. who layed it in on a fast break to give UW an 8-6 lead. On the next UW possession though Jamal Bey returned the favor wiith a turn and Texas Southern was able to get a fastbreak of their own to go back in front 10-8.
Despite the early success inside Washington reverted back to taking jump shots. Over the next 4 minutes the Huskies took 7 three-point attempts but Langston Wilson and PJ Fuller were each able to make one to keep UW close. Although the Huskies relied on drawing fouls and getting to the line in their first 2 games the only fouls getting called were offensive ones resulting in turnovers for the Dawgs.
Washington went to their full court press with about 11 minutes left in the first half and it paid immediate dividends. PJ Fuller earned a steal which gave him an easy uncontested layup and then Texas Southern was called for a clear offensive foul when trapped in the corner. However, Jamal Bey coughed it up to give up a fast break layup for Texas Southern and Washington wasn’t able to wrest control. Terrell Brown Jr. got fouled going to the rim and made the first 2 free throws the Dawgs attempted to tie the game at 18 with just over 8 minutes left in the half.
Texas Southern finally started to miss shots but Washington wasn’t able to end possessions. The Tigers collected offensive board after offensive board and gave themselves plenty of extra chances so that the Huskies weren’t able to catch up. And of course no Washington game would be complete without UW missing the front end of their first 1-and-1 opportunity, this time by Daejon Davis.
The Huskies finally took back the lead at 26-24 on a nice alley-oop slam by Langston Wilson assisted by Terrell Brown Jr. But this time the Washington press couldn’t get set fast enough and it resulted in Wilson getting posterized by Texas Southern on the other end. UW raced to the rim but had a layup blocked which went straight out to TSU’s speedy point guard who got a free uncontested layup and gave the Tigers back the lead with 4 minutes left in the half.
Jamal Bey after some early turnovers finally started to heat up and swished a midrange jumper and then nailed a catch and shoot corner 3 to put Washington back on top 31-30. The Dawgs just couldn’t stop Texas Southern on the boards though as on the next possession they forced a miss but the Tigers tapped it in. At that point Texas Southern had 12 offensive rebounds while Washington had 12 total. Justin Hopkins for TSU capped an uncharacteristic first half for him nailing a corner 3 to give him 8 points in the half and put TSU up 37-33 going into the locker room.
After UW had only 5 assists in each of its first 2 games it was encouraging that Terrell Brown Jr. had 8 points and 7 assists at the break. Unfortunately it was all 7 of UW’s assists and the Huskies weren’t able to capitalize on forcing 10 turnovers by virtue of facing an 8 rebound deficit.
Jamal Bey started off the second half looking like Matisse Thybulle as he blocked a 3-pt attempt and got fouled in transition on the fast break making just 1 of 2 at the line. Daejon Davis started to heat up and nailed a pair of 3-pt shots, the latter of which tied the game at 41. It looked like Texas Southern had yet another offensive rebound but after about 5 consecutive tips, Terrell Brown Jr. came down with it, sprinted full court, spun, and dished it to Jamal Bey who got the layup to give UW a 43-41 lead with just over 16 minutes left.
Terrell Brown Jr. continued to keep Washington’s offense afloat has he was able to hit a pair of tough midrange jumpers but the ball movement once again stagnated. On the other end Texas Southern (stop me if you’d heard this one) found another several offensive rebounds and converted then into 2nd chance points. A TSU layup off a missed gamble steal attempt by PJ Fuller put the Huskies in a 50-47 hole and prompted a Mike Hopkins timeout.
Coming out of the pause Terrell Brown Jr. hit another off balance midrange shot to get UW within 2. On the other end Nate Roberts blocked a floater in the lane and after it went out of bounds Jamal Bey earned another block resulting in a shot clock violation going into the under 12 media pause.
Shortly after, Brown looked like he had a layup but Texas Southern recovered to pin it to the glass and start a fast break opportunity. PJ Fuller came up huge though first with a chase down block from behind and after it ended up in Texas Southern hands he drew a charge to get back possession. Whenever it looked like UW would be able to open up a 2-possession lead though Texas Southern came back. Daejon Davis played perfect defense but a contested prayer of a hook shot from the free throw line as the shot clock ran down banked and went in for TSU to tie the game again. An active Langston Wilson fell on his hip trying to get an offensive rebound and he was forced to leave the game in a lot of pain.
Emmitt Matthews Jr. broke a 54-54 tie by splitting a pair of free throws. After another putback score by Texas Southern, PJ Fuller hit a very tough step back 3 to reclaim the lead. Then Terrell Brown Jr. put his defender in the spin cycle and got a tough and-1 layup attempt to fall but he unfortunately missed the free throw attempt to go up 4. Both teams traded some extremely sloppy play with a number of charges on each end. Emmitt Matthews Jr. drew a pair of them by Texas Southern and Daejon Davis was able to get a layup to fall to put the Dawgs up 63-56 with 4 minutes left prompting a TSU timeout.
The 8-0 run by Washington to take their largest lead of the game came with the Huskies taking their bigs off the floor playing with a lineup of Brown, Davis, Fuller, Bey, and Matthews.
The game was not over though as Texas Southern played volleyball at the rim with 3 offensive rebounds before one finally tapped in to the basket. On the other end Emmitt Matthews Jr. was clobbered going for a layup but the refs swallowed their whistle and called it out of bounds off his hand. Texas Southern was finally able to get the ball down low for a post opportunity with their center against Jamal Bey and his hook shot closed it back to within 3 at 63-60 with 2 minutes left.
Texas Southern went to a full court press and fouled Daejon Davis needlessly and he sank a pair of free throws. On the defensive end PJ Fuller blocked a 3-pointer out of bounds but then Texas Southern had a long fade away 2 swish to keep it close. Washington caught a break after Daejon Davis took an early deep 3 that was a terrible look. Fortunately Emmitt Matthews Jr. got shoved in the back going for the rebound and managed to make both free throws. The defensive intensity continued to shine as Texas Southern airballed a jump hook and after a scramble for the ball it was a shot clock violation and Husky ball with 0:58 remaining.
Terrell Brown Jr. had been the star on offense for all game and he wound the shot clock down to 2 seconds and drew the foul pulling up for a midrange shot and hitting both free throws to extend it back out to 7 with 30 seconds left and seemingly put it out of reach. Texas Southern took a quick 3-point attempt and it missed but resulted in yet another putback for the Tigers to make it 69-64 with 0:18 left. PJ Fuller split a pair of free throws and it looked like Texas Southern had a shot when Bey fouled a corner 3-point attempt. But upon review the TSU player’s foot was on the line and he missed the 2nd free throw which allowed PJ Fuller to redeem himself making a pair of free throws just before the buzzer to result in the final of 72-65.
All in all Texas Southern finished with a ridiculous 53-29 rebounding advantage over UW which saw them take an extra 14 shots. However, 21 turnovers and 11% 3-pt shooting ultimately doomed the Tigers’ upset chances. Washington didn’t shoot much better at 27% from beyond the arc but they hit 9/10 free throws in the final 4 minutes to finish 20/28 (70%) at the charity stripe.
Terrell Brown Jr. finished with 20 points and 9 assists while his backcourt mate Daejon Davis had his best offensive performance in a UW uniform with 15 points on 4/7 shooting to go along with a pair of steals. PJ Fuller (11 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals) and Jamal Bey (10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) joined them in double figures. Langston Wilson finished with 7 points and 7 rebounds off the bench but centers Nate Roberts and Jackson Grant combined for just 3 points and 4 rebounds as UW went small down the stretch and after the injury to Wilson.
Washington returns to action on Thursday night taking on Wyoming at home before heading out next week for their 3-game tournament in South Dakota.