After a 3 week pause that saw them miss 3 games due to COVID, at least the Huskies managed to play the game this time. Although given the way the game went maybe that’s not a great thing. Jamal Bey, Dominiq Penn, and all 3 UW assistant coaches missed tonight’s game due to COVID protocols and it’s unclear what their status will be moving forward. Meanwhile on the court Washington had a horrendous offensive performance as they fell 68-52 to Utah Valley despite Terrell Brown Jr.’s 23 points. Washington finishes non-conference play at 5-5 on the season.
Tonight early on looked like more of the same for the Huskies. The offense struggled to find its feet in the early going despite a Nate Roberts basket on the first possession. Utah Valley hasn’t been the greatest 3-point shooting team but they managed to find a pair of open corner looks in the first few minutes and knocked both of them down on the way to a 10-4 advantage.
Washington caught a break when Utah Valley star Fardaws Aimaq was called for his 2nd foul on the perimeter with 15:35 remaining and came out of the game. Without him the Husky defense managed to frustrate the Wolverines and their offense slowly crawled out of a hole. With 11:40 left in the game PJ Fuller hit a pull up jumper on the pick and roll which tied the contest at 14.
Things got ugly from there though. Utah Valley hit their 3rd three-pointer of the game but that would be the only score from either team over the next 4 and a half minutes. Utah Valley coach Mark Madsen decided during that span that the team couldn’t afford to wait to have Aimaq back in the game and the move backfired. Daejon Davis got to the rim and drew a foul which knocked Aimaq out for the rest of the half and Davis split the free throws.
The Wolverines drew the lead back out to 23-16 after they knocked down another open 3-point shot when Terrell Brown finally started to take over. He drove for a pretty layup and then on the next possession secured a steal and took it coast to coast. The next time he got into the lane and put up a runner off the glass and the 6-0 mini run by himself put Washington back on top 24-23 with 3:19 left in the half.
A transition 3-pointer by Utah Valley though with 30 seconds left secured a halftime advantage for the Wolverines despite Jackson Grant twice splitting a pair of free throws. Utah Valley led 30-27 with the Huskies shooting 34.5% from the floor, 0% on 3-pointers, and 53.8% from the free throw line compared to UVU’s 41/39/100.
Things went from bad to worse immediately in the 2nd half. Cole Bajema and Nate Roberts each picked up their 3rd fouls in the first 45 seconds. Within 90 seconds Utah Valley went on a 5-0 run and started to pull away. Terrell Brown Jr. tried his best to get the Huskies back into it. He had 5 points during a 7-2 Husky run which closed things back within 4 at 37-33.
Le’Tre Darthard lived up to his name unfortunately for Washington though. He was (understandably) left open a foot or two behind the NBA 3-point line but calmly swished it through. On the next possession after a long offensive rebound the ball ended up in Darthard’s hands in the exact same spot so he decided to do it again and suddenly Utah Valley led by 10 points prompting a Hopkins timeout.
Brown was forced to leave the game for a few minutes after he missed a layup and his throat landed on a Utah Valley player’s elbow and he was clearly banged up a little. Darthard made a pair of free throws and then caught an alley oop lob for an aggressive slam which put the Wolverines up by 15 and essentially put it out of reach for the Huskies as they would never seriously challenge the rest of the way.
The end result was one of the worst offensive performances seen in Seattle in a long time. Washington finished with 2 total assists (both by Terrell Brown Jr.) and 0 made 3-point shots. To top it all off UW was just 14/26 from the free throw line including once again multiple misses on the front end of 1-and-1’s.
Brown was the only Husky capable of doing anything as he finished with 23 points, 6 rebounds, the 2 assists, and 3 steals on 8/17 shooting. Matthews Jr. was the only other Dawg in double figures with 10 points. Fellow starters Cole Bajema, Daejon Davis, and Nate Roberts finished a combined 2/16 from the floor with 7 turnovers.
Utah Valley’s Fardaws Aimaq ended up getting called for 0 fouls in the 2nd half which allowed him to finish with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Washington is now 0.500 on the year despite playing the 267th ranked schedule and having 0 true road games. The team was awful last year and despite switching out nearly all the pieces to try to get a team capable of playing Hop’s defensive system they are once again awful. At this point we are all just playing out the string until Jen Cohen puts an end to the Hopkins era and the program tries to rebuild under new leadership.
The Dawgs’ next scheduled game is Wednesday, the 29th against Washington State in Pullman.