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Husky Defense Stiffens in 62-51 Senior Night Win over Cal

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The win likely keeps the Dawgs from finishing in the Pac-12 cellar two years in a row

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

With Cal and Washington tied in the win column in the Pac-12 standings it means the loser of this game almost certainly will finish in last place in the conference. Fortunately, the Huskies picked a good time for their defense to get it done as Washington took home the 62-51 win on senior night behind Quade Green’s 17 points. The victory improves the Dawgs’ record to 5-17 (4-13) and drops Cal to 8-17 (3-15).

Coach Hopkins made the decision on senior night to allow the senior walk-ons in the starting lineup and the move paid off as assistant coach’s son Travis Rice looked like J.J Reddick draining a really tough 3-pointer on the game’s first possession to start things off for UW.

Cal answered with some offense of their own despite a pair of missed free throws and a Matt Bradley midrange jumper gave the Bears an early 7-5 lead.

After a Nate Roberts layup tied the game at 7 both teams went through a significant scoring drought and it remained tied at 7 two minutes later until Jamal Bey knocked down a 3-pointer. Cal answered with a midrange jumper and then there was another 2 minute scoring drought for both teams before Matt Bradley split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 10 with 11:29 remaining.

Washington’s offense finally found a bit of its stride as the Huskies scored on 3 of 4 possessions including a Hameir Wright 3-pointer but Cal managed a few baskets of their own to keep things close at 16-14 UW. That led to (you guessed it) another 2 minute scoring drought. But the Huskies fixed some things on their end as a Cole Bajema 3-pointer finished off an 8-0 run for the Dawgs to extend the lead to double digits at 24-14 with 4:49 left in the half.

Andre Kelly for Cal started to take over and he scored 6 consecutive points for the Bears on the way to Cal closing the lead to just 4 points. The Huskies managed a little bit of late offense and a quick 4-1 run to the end of the half resulted in a 30-23 lead for the Dawgs.

Cal came out and immediately hit a 3-pointer out of the half but the Huskies didn’t panic. Washington answered with a 12-2 run that extended the lead to a peak of 14 points at 42-28. Marcus Tsohonis managed the final 5 of those points on consecutive possessions including a 3-pointer assisted by Erik Stevenson.

The Bears continued to chip away at the Husky lead as the Washington offense faltered. 4 different Cal players scored a basket over the next 3 minutes while no one on the Dawgs scored resulting in an 8-0 run to make things interesting. The Husky offense got on the board again but Cal continued to fight and drained a pair of free throws to close the lead to just 45-42 with 9:07 remaining.

That was the closest it would get from there on out as Quade Green hit a 3-pointer off the wing and after a Cal basket Jamal Bey and Quade both drove for layups to give the Dawgs some breathing room again at 52-44. The Husky bigs’ foul trouble (Roberts and Wright both ended the game with 4 personals) kept Cal close as the Bears kept getting to the free throw line while Washington only just barely made it into the bonus by game’s end. Quade Green took his man off the dribble though and converted the layup to give the Huskies a 59-50 lead with 2 minutes left. After Cal’s next shot went out of bounds off of them they resorted to fouling and Marcus Tsohonis knocked down 2 free throws to preserve the win.

Quade Green rebounded from a subpar effort on Thursday to carry the Huskies with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and perhaps most importantly just 1 turnover. Jamal Bey also had a nice effort with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Marcus Tsohonis’ outside shot struggled but he still managed to hit double digits with 10 points, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers.

The Huskies didn’t win the possession battle but were able to at least keep things close as they held a rebounding (38-40) and turnover deficit (10-14). Fortunately Cal’s offense shot so terribly that it didn’t matter. The Bears finished shooting just 26.7% from the field and 3/17 (17.6%) from the 3-point line. Cal’s star scorer Matt Bradley finished the game just 3 of 16 from the floor but still managed 13 points thanks to 11 free throw attempts. Andre Kelly was the only other Bear in double figures after putting up 12 points and 12 rebounds thanks to 9 free throw attempts and 7 offensive rebounds.

Washington returns to action on Tuesday night at Arizona State in a game that is a make-up for when the Sun Devils were supposed to travel to Seattle earlier in the year before COVID-19 issues for ASU forced a postponement. That situation will result in the Huskies playing back-to-back games in Tempe over 3 days before finishing the regular season in Tucson next Saturday.