For fifteen minutes it looked like the Huskies had a chance to contend with the Pac-12 conference frontrunners. However an 18-4 run by the Trojans wiped away that possibility as Quade Green’s 16 points weren’t enough to propel the Huskies to a victory. The loss is Washington’s 4th straight and drops the Dawgs to 3-15 (2-11) on the season.
Washington showed the kind of fight early on that was never apparent when the Huskies played USC the first time down in L.A. The Huskies didn’t exactly run beautiful offense but both Quade Green and Erik Stevenson pulled up and swished jumpers to score Washington’s first 5 points. Evan Mobley blocked a Hameir Wright 3 but the Huskies got the rebound and it eventually made its way back to Wright in the same corner who knocked it down to put the Dawgs up 8-5. USC’s sensational freshman had 3 blocks in the first 4 minutes of the game.
Washington’s offense kept pace but USC still completely dominated the paint in the early going. Just about every Trojan miss resulted in an offensive rebound and usually they were able to convert when given a second chance. 6’10 Chevez Goodwin who was averaging just 6.3 points per game came off the bench and took over the USC offense midway through the 1st half with 9 points on 7 shots as he made a variety of hook shots or dunks over the UW bigs. Isaiah Mobley came back in though and got an and-1 basket to tie the game at 19 with 8:11 left in the half.
Quade Green showed he had his shot going as he managed to knock down consecutive tough jumpers to keep the Huskies in front. Then after a missed (ambitious) up and under layup by Hameir Wright, Cole Bajema swooped in for an acrobatic putback to put the Dawgs up 4 and spark an Andy Enfield timeout.
Unfortunately whatever Enfield said in the timeout seemed to work. Washington’s offense fell apart from a series of quick jumpers which started missing and disjointed passes. Meanwhile the Trojans continued to bludgeon the Huskies inside. Add it all up and even with a Quade Green runner at the buzzer USC managed to outscore the Dawgs by a 20-6 margin over the final 5+ minutes of the half and go into the locker room up 41-31.
Isaiah Mobley had 6 offensive rebounds in the first half as USC had more offensive boards (10) than the Huskies had total (9). Only USC’s 0/3 3-pt shooting and Quade Green’s scoring (14 points on 7/9) kept things remotely close.
Fouls hurt the Huskies coming out of the break. Both Roberts and Wright went to the half with 2 apiece but Roberts very quickly picked up his 3rd on a ticky-tack incidental contact then Wright was called for his 3rd and 4th. USC knocked down a pull-up midrange jumper over Quade Green after Wright left the game to go up 48-34 and tie their largest lead of the night at 14 points.
The Huskies decided to go to a 4-guard lineup with Green, Pryor, and Tsohonis all playing at the same time and it had a little bit of success. Marcus Tsohonis hit a transition 3-pointer on a drive and kick from Quade then the next time down the floor Green got a tough floater to go over Evan Mobley’s outstretched fingers to bring the lead back to single digits.
Unfortunately the Husky offense went cold and some long rebounds and turnovers gave the Trojans multiple fastbreak opportunities which resulted in USC dunks. And with the Huskies trying their best to pack the paint Evan Mobley stepped out and hit an 18-foot baseline jumper to extend the lead to 15 points for the first time at 56-41 with 9:20 remaining.
The Huskies would make another run when Hameir Wright got clobbered driving to the rim and made both free throws to make it 60-50. Next possession Quade Green drew a foul and went to the line for a 1-and-1 to potentially close it to 8 but the front end rimmed out and Washington would never get closer than that. With 2 minutes left the Dawgs tried a full court press to extend the game but without any of their shots fouling it just lengthened the Trojan lead.
Quade Green led the Huskies with 16 points and 4 assists but committed 7 turnovers which negated his early effectiveness. Jamal Bey ended up the only other Husky in double figures with 10 points while Hameir Wright had 9 and Cole Bajema had a new high as a Dawg with 7. Bajema missed a few open 3-point looks but I was generally impressed with the effort he showed as he was willing to make the gritty hustle play. Nate Pryor only had 2 points but came in during the 2nd half to play some good perimeter defense and continued to make a chance for more playing time in the future. Ultimately Washington just wasn’t able to knock down the outside shot with consistency as they finished 5/22 (22.7%) from the outside.
The Dawgs deserve some amount of credit for holding USC to just 69 points. The Trojans were just 1/7 from the 3-pt line and 12/20 from the free throw line but it still marks a defensive improvement after Washington gave up 95 to USC last time. This is the fewest points the Huskies have given up since Montana scored just 66 in December. That’s despite USC holding a 41-24 rebound advantage. The Mobley brothers were the main reason for the rebound disparity as they combined for 29 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Washington returns to the court on Saturday at 4:30p to take on UCLA.