The Huskies entered tonight on a 3-game win streak after managing to pull out a pair of very close contests recently. They didn’t have to worry about winning in crunch time tonight as Washington was blown out almost from the jump in a dispiriting 86-61 loss at Utah. The Utes used a 15-0 run in the first half to run away from the Huskies who only briefly ever got it back within single digits. The loss drops Washington to 12-9 (4-6) on the season.
Washington’s offense was out of sorts from the start as Menifield and Williams each missed open layups and then Brooks missed a wide open corner 3. Utah meanwhile relentlessly attacked the glass and it resulted in 5 second chance points for Brendan Carlson on the way to an early 11-7 Utah lead. Washington found a few points off a Brooks putback, a pair of Bajema free throws, and a Fuller floater.
But then everything fell apart. Utah caught fire while Washington’s offense continued its inept ways. The Utes went on a 15-0 run in just under 3 minutes punctuated by a sequence of: Utah layup, UW turnover, Utah 3-pointer, UW missed layup, Utah 3-pointer. That entire time took less than 40 seconds and took Washington from down by a lot (but manageable at 11) to down 32-13 and seemingly just about closing the door on the Dawgs.
With nothing else to try, Hop went with switching to a man-to-man defense and inserting Langston Wilson into the game for the first time in several games. Wilson provided a spark first with an impressive putback dunk through traffic. Then on defense he had a pair of blocks, the first on a 3-pointer that led to a fastbreak layup, and the second erasing a Utah transition layup attempt. Keyon Menifield Jr. finally got a late shot clock 3 to fall and UT suddenly got back to within 10 at 36-26.
The Huskies finally got a few offensive boards of their own after another stop. The Huskies missed 4 shots but got it back each time and Keion Brooks made a pair of free throws to cut it back within 8 at 36-28 with 2:42 left in the half.
Despite having all of the momentum the Huskies managed to squander it. Noah Williams had the ball stripped while holding it on the perimeter and it resulted in a Utah easy transition layup. Then Noah was called for a travel on the next possession and Branden Carlson recovered it after a Keion Brooks block for another layup. The Utes scored another 2 baskets making it 4 possessions in a row down the stretch to go into half up 44-30.
A few minutes into the second half Cole Bajema hit a wiiiide open transition corner 3-pointer to cut it back to within 15 following several Utah makes out of the break. The Utes responded with a pair of dunks including an and-1. On the second of them Braxton Meah got blown past and all 5 Huskies just watched as Luka Tarlac threw down a one-handed slam to put them up 55-35. Hop called timeout.
Washington finally got the lead better than it was at halftime. PJ Fuller stole the ball and got it ahead to Koren Johnson who laid it in to make it 58-45. Immediately though Gabe Madsen continued his hot shooting for Utah and canned a 3-pointer. The Huskies got another steal but Brooks turned it over trying to lob it for Langston Wilson and Utah immediately scored on the other end and suddenly the lead was back to 18 for Utah.
A Noah Williams 3 cut it to 13 a few minutes later and Utah missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but got the offensive rebound and took advantage of the second chance to answer with a 3-pointer of their own.
Another Utah 3-pointer in the closing minute pushed the lead all the way out to its final margin of 25 points. The only thing to not go Utah’s way happened with a minute left when Keyon Menifield missed a contested midrange jumper. A pair of Utes went for the defensive rebound with no UW player even close and Marco Anthony came away with it. The problem was his teammate Rollie Worster was right next to him who was one rebound shy of a triple double which he didn’t get due to Anthony’s aggression. Whoops.
Keion Brooks Jr. was the most consistent all-around player for UW with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks but it took him 19 shots to get there. Braxton Meah had his worst game of the season as he was constantly double teamed and finished scoreless with just 3 rebounds. Branden Carlson showed off how big a gap there is between the two finishing with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks for Utah.
Getting a sweep in the Mountain road trip is incredibly difficult and getting a split on its face is an acceptable outcome. But the Huskies weren’t close to being close to being competitive. That’s after UW put themselves in a huge hole starting 1-5 in conference play. And now the Dawgs once again get the L.A schools and Arizona back-to-back. That’s 4 more games where Washington will certainly be an underdog and it will take at least one upset to not look up in 2 weeks and see the Huskies sitting at 4-10 in conference play.