In a rematch from earlier this month in Tempe, Arizona, the Washington Huskies (12-9) hosted the Arizona State Sun Devils (15-5) and the Huskies were looking to avenge the 73-65 loss down in the Desert. It wasn’t pretty and at times very hard to watch but the Washington Huskies survived multiple times late in the game to hold onto a 69 to 66 Over-time victory.
Coming off a poor effort versus Utah just 5 days ago, the Huskies came out with a similar lackadaisical effort to start off the game early on. Washington would start off missing their first few shots but more troublesome was the 7 turnovers in the first 6 minutes and to get down to a 12-0 deficit to start the game.
After an early Mike Hopkins timeout, Keyon Menifield would finally get the Huskies on the board with a mid-range jumper. Menifield would then follow up with a steal on the defensive end that led to a Koren Johnson layup to give the Huskies some life. A Jamal Bey free throw would get UW within 12-5 but the turnovers would still plague the Huskies during this small run.
Arizona State would have their own struggles early on after the initial 12-0 run. The Huskies would hold the Sun Devils to only 2 points in the next 7 minutes to help stay within striking distance. Keyon Menifield would jump a few passing lanes to create a few steals that led to the Huskies most efficient offense early on… fast break layups.
As bad the as the Huskies could possibly play with 12 turnovers and shooting under 20% from the field in the first 10 minutes, Washington were still only a few big plays away from getting back in the game. Cole Bajema was that big play waiting to happen and almost single handily raised the Huskies from the dead. Bajema would hit three straight 3-pointers off of assists from Keyon Menifield and Noah Williams (2) to give the Huskies their first lead of the game at 17 to 16.
With 3:58 left and the Huskies up 20-16, the Keyon and Keion show began to make its presence felt. Freshman Keyon Menifield would score on a nice pull up jumper to help extend the lead and Keion Brooks would score 7 points in a row after not scoring in the first 12 minutes of the game, including an NBA range 3-pointer to extend UW’s lead to 29-18.
Noah Williams, who was playing sick versus Colorado and Utah, started the game but struggled mightily shooting the ball early on. Williams missed his first 8 shots from the field and missed two front ends from the free throw line that could have helped the Huskies pad their lead even further. However, Williams did hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the 1st half to give the Huskies their largest lead at 32 to 18.
Credit the Huskies for contesting shots but the Sun Devils could not buy a bucket in the first half. After the Sun Devils started the game on a 12-0 run, the Huskies outscored Arizona State 32 to 8 in the final 14 minutes of the half. At one point, Arizona State missed 14 straight shots and was 2/23 to finish the half. It was truly a bizarre first half that looked like the Huskies were going to get run out of the building but instead turned the tables on the Sun Devils to finish the half.
Keion Brooks would lead the Huskies with 11 first half points and scored his 1,000th point of his career. Cole Bajema chipped in 9 points, all from the 3-point range. Keyon Menifield and Noah Williams would combine for 9 points and 6 assists to help get the offense on track after the slow start.
The Sun Devils put the pressure on in the 2nd Half
After scoring on the final possession of the 1st half, it seemed like the Sun Devils perhaps had found something as they came out hitting some shots early on 6 for 10 shooting to pull back within 5 with 14:34 left. Desmond Cambridge Jr. caught fire early on scoring 6 quick points to lead the way.
The Huskies would start off the half struggling on 2 for 9 shooting with 2 more turnovers but got 2 points each from Keion Brooks, Noah Williams and Keyon Menifield to help sustain the lead. However, the Arizona State pressure picked up dramatically and started to regain their tempo from the first few minutes of the game.
Keion Brooks would finally end the Huskies draught by scoring on a nifty left handed layup after a spin move. Brooks would then set a screen for Keyon Menifield and roll to the top of the key for a wide open 3-pointer to push the lead back out to ten at 43 to 33 with 12:26 left in the 2nd half.
Cole Bajema would find himself open in the corner after a good pass from Keion Brooks and just rimmed out but was fouled by 7 footer Warren Washington. Bajema would convert 2 of 3 free throws to again pull UW out to a 10 point lead at 45 to 35.
The next 4 minutes would be a replay from the first 4 minutes of the game with the Huskies throwing the ball all over the place and turning it over left and right. The Sun Devils would go on a 6-0 run to pull within 45 to 41 thanks to a couple of 3-pointers from Devan Cambridge JR. who had caught fire in the 2nd half. Franckie Collins, who was mostly quiet in the 1st half with foul trouble also hit two 3-pointers during the early 2nd half stretch and helped ASU pull within 45-44 with under 5 minutes left in the game.
With the Sun Devils threatening, the Huskies would turn to Senior Noah Williams down the stretch to help settle down the Huskies. Williams would go right at 6’1 Franckie Collins several times and score on layups or pull up jumpers in the lane. Williams would score 6 straight points to give the Huskies a 52 to 48 lead with 48 seconds left.
It looked like the Huskies may close the game out comfortably but Franckie Collins would answer immediately with his 3rd three-pointer of the game to pull back within 1 and give the Sun Devils a chance to full court press the Huskies.
After struggling with the Press against Colorado, it got a little tense again against the Sun Devils pressure. The Huskies would turn it over again against the press and give the Sun Devils a chance to take their first lead of the 2nd half. Arizona State would look for a 3-pointer from Devan Cambridge but his shot would rim off. Freshman Koren Johnson would then be fouled with 28.7 seconds left and calmly hit two free throws to take a 54 to 51 lead.
The Huskies would force another miss and Keion Brooks grabbed the rebound before getting fouled. Unfortunately for the Huskies, it was only the 8th team foul for the Sun Devils which would mean a 1 and 1 for Brooks. Brooks an 80% shooter, would miss the front end and give the Sun Devils life. The Huskies had a few fouls to give and fouled Frankie Collins with 6.8 seconds left.
With still a few fouls to give, the Huskies opted to not foul immediately and the Sun Devils were able to find freshman Austin Nunez for a game tying three in the corner. Keion Brooks appeared to get a piece of the ball but also got a bit of Nunez’s hand and was called for a foul to give the freshman 3 free throws, with a chance to tie the game with .6 seconds left. The Freshman Nunez calmly hit all 3 free throws to force OT and it looked like disaster was about to strike the Huskies.
Coming off an overtime win just 10 days ago against California, the Huskies jumped out with a 5 point lead in OT thanks to another Noah Williams basket to start the extra period. On the next possession, Williams would drive the lane again but this time kick it out to an open Keion Brooks for a corner 3 for a 59 to 54 lead.
Freshman Keyon Menifield would score a big bucket for the Huskies with a baseline runner with 1:46 left to give the Huskies a 6-point lead in overtime and it looked like the Huskies may survive comfortably in Overtime. That was not the case....
The Sun Devils would come storming back with a few Franckie Collins baskets and another Devan Cambridge 3-pointer to pull within 64-62 with 23 seconds left in OT.
Noah Williams, who had missed 2 front end free throws in the first half would step up for another front end free throw in front of a lot of nervous Husky fans. Williams would hit the back iron on the first free throw but the ball barely bounced in the hoop and then Williams calmly hit the 2nd to give UW a 4-point lead.
After a couple more Frankie Collins layups and free throws from PJ Fuller and Koren Johnson, it would come down to a final possession for the Sun Devils with a chance to tie and down 3. Noah Williams would attempt to foul Frankie Collins but the refs let them play and that gave Collins a wide open 3 that narrowly rimmed out. After a mad scramble that saw the ball tipped out of bounds with .9 seconds left, the Sun Devils would have one last chance but came up short on their final attempt. The Huskies would survive in Overtime, in a wild game that saw 22 Washington turnovers and a game full of runs, to defeat the Sun Devils 69 to 66.
One of the stranger games in recent memory with both teams trying to give the game away multiple times but it was the Huskies that came back and controlled the majority of the game after falling down 12-0 early on. The Huskies went with mostly a short bench as 5 players played over 35 minutes but received balanced scoring from 4 key contributors.
The Huskies were led by Keion Brooks with 22 points, 7 rebound and 3 blocks, despite a few costly errors and a missed free throw late in regulation. However, Brooks came up clutch in Overtime with a big 3-pointer and a basket saving block with a minute left in the game.
Noah Williams got off to a very slow start in the game but finished the game shooting 6-16 and chipped in 18 points, including 5-6 from the free throw line in Overtime. Williams also added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and a steal.
In also one of the stranger stat lines you will see, Braxton Meah played 42 minutes and didn’t attempt a Field goal or a Free throw, finishing with 0 points. However, Meah would help protect the rim on defense and pulled down 11 rebounds on the night. Big difference from the first matchup when Arizona State was scoring at will on the Huskies with Meah in Foul trouble and converted 12 dunks in the matchup in Tempe. Arizona State did not have a dunk all night, thanks to Meah’s presence.
Braxton Meah played a career high 42 minutes and:— Max Vrooman (@UWDP_maxvroom) January 27, 2023
-Did not attempt a field goal
-Did not attempt a free throw
-Had 0 blocks
-The Huskies won
You could've gotten about 1,000,000-1 odds on that parlay pregame.
Finally, Keyon Menifield didn’t have a big scoring night with 10 points but had the highest +/- on the Huskies with +18. The next closest +/- was Langston Wilson at 7 and Cole Bajema at 3. Menifield also chipped in 6 boards and 5 assists in 39 minutes on the floor.
The Huskies (13-9 and 5-6) now turn their attention to the Arizona Wildcats (18-3 and 7-3) who come to town in what could be a sold out game on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm. Don’t look now but the Huskies have now won 4 of their last 5 conference games but now face 3 straight Quad 1 opponents as we hit the final stretch of the season.