The Washington Huskies hosted Idaho State in a final tune up before a big matchup with the Auburn Tigers next week and a chance to get some momentum on the offensive end. Idaho State earlier this year gave the Utah Utes a scare in Salt Lake City before Utah pulled away in the final minutes. Idaho State has been known as a team that likes to fire away from the 3 point range. The chances of another slow start were high but the Huskies turned in their best effort of the season for a convincing 90-55 victory.
Idaho State also came into Montlake with some local flavor, bringing in multiple players from the Seattle Greater area in Brock Mackenzie, Maleek Arrington and former UW Commit Ed Chang who spent a year at Garfield High School. This brought a fairly large amount of Idaho State fans for this non-conference match up.
The Huskies have notoriously gotten off to slow starts all year, trailing 8 times going into halftime so it would be important for UW to get off to a fast start against an over matched Idaho State team. Idaho State would collect 2 offensive rebounds in the first few possessions but on a follow up three-point attempt after an offensive rebound, PJ Fuller would come flying in for the block that would lead to a transition three for Fuller to score the 1st points of the game.
The Huskies would go on a 9-2 run in the first 4 minutes after collecting a few defensive rebounds that led to the Huskies getting out in transition. An early nominee for play of the night would be a transition lob from PJ Fuller to Keion Brooks for a highlight dunk. Idaho State would take a timeout to stop the run.
PJ Fuller, who left the Cal Poly game with an apparent injury was healthy enough to play and got off to a hot start early on, hitting two three-pointers and a contested pull up for 8 early points. Keyon Menifield would give Fuller a breather and picked up right where PJ Left off and turned another transition play into a lob pass to Langston Wilson for a dunk this time. Shortly after, Menifield followed up with a smooth three-pointer in the corner off a great cross court pass from Keion Brooks to give UW an early 19-11 lead.
Braxton Meah got off to a slow start in the 1st half, missing a few close attempts and bobbled a potential dunk for a turnover but the Huskies were able to get some support from red-shirt Sophomore Jackson Grant and Senior Langston Wilson. Grant would collect 2 rebounds in 3 minutes and Langston Wilson would chip in 4 points early on and 2 rebounds. 4 points and 4 boards for the 2 backup post players would provide good minutes with Meah on the bench.
The Fresno native, Braxton Meah would say “thanks guys, I’ll take it from here”. After not scoring in the first 15 minutes of the game, Meah would score 8 quick points, all on dunks.
Keyon Menifield wanted to put his name in the running for play-of-the-game nominee with a couple of highlight plays to help UW break out to their largest lead of the half at 32-20. The first play found Menifield almost trapped in the corner but was able to slip by to score on a difficult reverse layup plus the and 1 free throw (see video at bottom of article). The 2nd highlight play would start with a Keion Brooks rebound who passed it up the court to Menifield who whipped a bullet pass to a running Braxton Meah for a transition dunk.
There was a surprise appearance by Junior Walk-on Kyle Luttinen in the 1st half. Luttinen is a local Roosevelt High School graduate and made his 2nd appearance of his career. Luttinen played 3 minutes but did not record a stat in the 1st half but it was interesting to see him in the game with the Huskies only up 9 in the half.
The Huskies would go into halftime with a 41 to 22 lead, after a running layup by Cole Bajema right before the buzzer. Bajema would lead the Huskies with 9 first half points but it was a group effort with PJ Fuller and Braxton Meah chipping in 8 points and Keion Brooks had a stat stuffing half with 6 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. 6 assists would be a season-high for Brooks and he was able to hit it in the 1st half.
The Huskies Continue to Roll in the 2nd Half
The Huskies, known to be a second half team, continued where they left off in the 1st half by scoring the first 5 points of the half to take a 46 to 22 lead. Cole Bajema found Braxton Meah for another lob dunk and PJ Fuller hit his 3rd three-pointer of the game.
Local Eastside Catholic guard, Brock Mackenzie would score 7 quick points on his own and hit his first three-pointer of the game to get back to under a 20-point lead. Idaho State would go on a 7-0 run after another Brayden Parker layup but that run would be quickly squashed after Braxton Meah’s 6th dunk of the game, this time off of another great lob pass from PJ Fuller.
The Huskies would go on their own 11-2 run with another well placed lob pass from Keyon Menifield to Langston Wilson for their 2nd hook up of the game. Menifield would add another 3 pointer for his 2nd of the game as well. Freshman Koren Johnson would get in on the “Dunking” action after a steal and nifty pass from Keyon Menifield. The word dunk could be used loosely as it was a mix of a layup and dunk but still resulted in the Huskies 11th dunk of the night. The Huskies would finish with a season high 12 dunks on the night.
Sophomore Jackson Grant, who recently had to come off a red-shirt after the Frank Kepnang injury, played extensive minutes versus Idaho State and perhaps played his best game as Husky. Grant played with energy and finished the game with 4 points, 6 rebounds, including 3 offensive boards and a block in only 15 minutes.
Not sure if this would count as a highlight play but 145 pound Keyon Menifield was called for a charge on 6’9 250 pound Brayden Parker that somehow knocked the big man to the ground. That will go in the books as one of those “how is that possible” category.
Keion Brooks would hit a pair of free throws before he excited the game for good with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in only 25 minutes. With the large lead, Brooks did not play his normal number of minutes and perhaps could have flirted with the Huskies first ever Triple Double but was not to be.
The Huskies would empty the bench in the final 9 minutes of the game and would send out a lineup of Keyon Menifield, Koren Johnson, Tyler Linhardt, Kyle Luttinen and Jackson Grant. The rout was on.....
Kyle Luttinen drained 2 deep threes in a matter of minutes and Freshman Tyler Linhardt out of Kings HS in Seattle, would score his first basket on a three-pointer to give the Huskies a 32-point lead at 76 to 44. Koren Johnson would join the fun and hit his own three-pointer to give the Huskies their largest lead of the game at 35.
Usually in these large margin of victories, the game can get a little sloppy but the Huskies continued to share the ball with 6 assists in the final 6 minutes. Keyon Menifield would add another nominee for play of the game with an alley-oop dunk for the 6’1 Freshman off of a great pass from his fellow freshman guard counterpart Koren Johnson. Menifield would hang on the rim a little too long and called for a technical but would leave the game with smiles after leading UW in scoring with 13 points, 7 assists and 2 steals.
By far the most impressive performance by the Huskies this season as the Dawgs would cruise to a 90-55 victory. Granted, against an overmatched Idaho State team ranked #321 in Kenpom but this is what teams like UW are supposed to do against small major teams.
The Huskies would shoot a scorching 55% from the field but more impressively, Washington would finish with a season-high 24 assists on 34 made field goals. The Huskies would score 48 points in the paint and out rebound Idaho State 42 to 27. A pure domination from pretty much start to finish.
The Huskies were led by Menifield with 13 points but would have 5 players in double figures (Meah 12, Bajema 11, Fuller 11, and Johnson 11) but also got 8 points from Keion Brooks, Langston Wilson and 6 points from Kyle Luttinen and Tyler Linhardt.
Idaho State was led by Brayden Parker with 15 points and Brock Mackenzie with 14 points but on 1-7 from 3, who came in shooting 50% from beyond the arc. Auburn High School Freshman Maleek Arington would finish with 9 points in the 2nd half in front of family and friends. Ed Chang would finish with 2 points on 1/8 shooting.
The Huskies (9-3) head into their biggest Non-Conference game against a Power 5 opponent in 10+ years against the Auburn Tigers (9-1) on Wednesday night at 6 pm.