The Washington Huskies came in as a 6.5 point under dog to a hot shooting South Dakota State team and it was Washington who put on a shooting clinic shooting 58% from the field. On top of that, playing timely defense throughout the game to hold onto the lead. UW not only controlled the game from the opening tip but had an answer for every South Dakota State run, in front of a South Dakota crowd trying to urge their team on. Not quite a hostile road game, but great experience for a team trying to find their game. Washington puts together their best 40 minutes in over 2 seasons by winning 87 to 76 and head into the Nevada game full of confidence.
UW was led by who else…. Terrell Brown with a career high 32 points but it was a very balanced scoring effort by the Dawgs with 4 players in double Figures. PJ Fuller had another tremendous game off the bench with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Emmitt Mathews (13 points) and Jamal Bey (12 points) combined for 6/11 from 3 point land and Daejon Davis scored all 7 of his points in the 2nd half while playing great defense along the way.
UW sporting their black jerseys came in to Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the challenge of somehow slowing down a hot shooting and high scoring South Dakota State Team. The Jackrabbits came in averaging 90.7 points per game and shooting over 44% from 3 on 26 attempts per game, led by Noah Freidel (19.5 ppg) and Baylor Scheierman (13.2 ppg) on the outside. If you only watched the Northern Illinois game this year, you would think UW would be in a serious trouble. Turned out to not be the case.
Early in the 1st half, it was UW that looked like the 3 point shooting team by hitting their first 3 three pointers. Jamal Bey got off to a nice start with 2 threes and Emmitt Mathews hit 3 first-half three pointers as well.
The shooting of course was a very nice surprise but the defense continued where it left off against George Mason by mixing in a switching Man to Man and 2-3 zone defense. UW also showed their full court press on a few possessions that resulted in two South Dakota State turnovers.
The UW defense seemed to have taken South Dakota State out of their offensive flow with only 3/9 shooting (33%) from 3 in the first half with only 5 assists and 9 turnovers. South Dakota State started to feed the ball down low to try and generate some offense and got some good production from Luke Appel with 8 first half points, on post moves. Appel came in averaging only 5 points per game but found success posting up on smaller UW defenders. 6’7 Forward Douglas Wilson also caused some damage down low on the offensive glass, grabbing a few boards for easy put backs. Wilson had 9 points and 7 boards in the first.
However balanced scoring helped halt several South Dakota State runs to pull away to a 12 point early first half lead. Led by Terrell Brown and Emmitt Mathews with 11 first half points, as well as 8 points from Bey. Jackson Grant put in some good minutes with 2 points and 5 boards.
UW went into halftime with a 42-32 lead shooting 53% from the field and 9 assists on 17 made Field Goals. More importantly UW held the Jack Rabbits to 41% shooting with only 5 assists and 9 turnovers.
2nd half brought back and forth scoring
South Dakota state came out with a lot more energy on both sides of the ball but UW was able to keep answering and extend the lead up to 10 point multiple times. The Jack Rabbits changed their strategy early on by forcing the ball inside with the 3 point shot not working in the 1st half. UW was playing high up in the zone to take away the 3 but leaving the lane open and SDSU decided to take advantage. UW seemed comfortable to trade buckets back and forth led by Brown and Daejon scoring 7 points early in the 2nd half including a big dunk driving the lane.
South Dakota State finally found some momentum when their leading scorer Noah Friedel was fouled shooting a 3 by Nate Roberts. Freidel, who averaged 19 ppg going into the game, only had 5 points at the time. Friedel hits all 3 free throws and was again fouled shooting a 3 a few minutes later. In just 6 minutes, Friedel had 18 points and was heating up.
South Dakota State got within 4 points but couldn’t get over the edge and the Huskies kept answering each run with a Terrell Brown Layup or a PJ Fuller Jumper.
Terrell Brown absolutely took over in the last 10 minutes scoring 19 points and hitting 6 of 7 free throws.
The scoring picked up for both teams and Washington was finally the team that created multiple stops to finish the game, capped off with an exclamation dunk by Emmitt Mathews off a steal and lob from Daejon Davis.
Washington was in control all game and played really good team basketball, something we haven’t been able to say for awhile. More importantly, they slowed down a prolific offense that averages 90+ points and held them to 76 points. The lowest mark in 9 games dating to last season for the Jack Rabbits.
UW heads into their 3rd game in 3 days with a lot of confidence, playing another top 80 KenPom team in Nevada, who is coming off an impressive win against George Mason. Tip off is at 4:00 PM Pacific on ESPN+ and will be going for the tourney Sweep.
- Emmitt Mathews has played in the Crossover Classic before, helping West Virginia win the Classic last season. Mathews had a big game today, hitting 3-5 from 3 and trying his best to help guard the Jack Rabbit big men.
- Jackson Grant put in some good minutes with 6 boards and 4 points off put backs in only 10 minutes of time. Still figuring things out on defense but can see the impact he can make in a game.
- Daejon Davis had another tough shooting night shooting 3/10 from the field but his defense was really good. He gave no room for South Dakota State guards to get open looks and caused a couple offensive fouls and had 2 steals. Making an impact when his offense was struggling a bit but did have 7 points in the 2nd half.