After one of the biggest victories in Washington Huskies Football History in Las Vegas Friday night, it was the Huskies Basketball team’s turn in Las Vegas to take on a ranked opponent against the Colorado State Rams. The Huskies would face a Rams team that just knocked off a fellow Pac 12 team in the Colorado Buffaloes and came in ranked #20 in the country.
In a game that the Huskies had plenty of opportunities to come away with a victory, the Colorado State’s prolific offense was too much in the very end and the Huskies fall by the final score of 86 to 81. The Huskies fall to 4-3 on the season but stay at #58 in Kenpom after the Q1 loss.
The energy and crowd early on was basically a polar opposite of the Football game with a pretty sparse crowd but the Huskies got off to a good start with a 9-3 lead early. Moses Wood got the action started early with a block on defense and then hustled up the court to spot up for a transition three-pointer.
The Huskies had a little bit of flow going early on and then seemed to have caught a break when Colorado Transfer Nique Clifford was called for a Flagrant 2 after hitting Braxton Meah in a very sensitive spot down low, which led to an ejection for Clifford. Meah was able to split the Free throws, which gave the Huskies a 12-7 lead but the momentum would shift the other way.
Braxton Meah would pick up his own Flagrant foul (Flagrant 1) shortly after with an elbow, which gave Patrick Cartier 2 free throws to cut into the lead. After several minutes of delays from video reviews, the Huskies seemed out of sync on offense and defense. The Huskies would turn the ball over on multiple possessions, which gave the Rams a chance to go on a 14-0 run to take a 21-12 lead.
Moses Wood would finally end the run with his 2nd three-pointer of the game and would start a 12-1 run for the Huskies. Paul Mulcahy, who missed the previous game versus UC San Diego, would score 5 straight points off of a long jumper and a corner three to cut the lead to only 1 point at 23 to 22. Moses Wood would then hit another three-pointer to give the Huskies the lead back at 25 to 23 for the Huskies.
Colorado State would answer right back and the game would go back and forth for the next few minutes. The Huskies would get another break when All-Conference Point Guard Isaiah Stevens would pick up 2 straight fouls and was sent to the bench with 3 fouls and 5 minutes left in the 1st half.
With Stevens on the Bench, the Huskies were able to stretch out to a 41-34 lead after another Moses Wood Three pointer but the Rams would battle back with a few offensive rebounds to cut the Huskies lead at 44 to 41 at halftime. Key moment in the game where the Huskies could have extended a lead going into half but failed to secure a few rebounds.
The two stars for both teams in Keion Brooks and Isaiah Stevens combined for only 7 points but both did not take many attempts while deferring to their teammates. That would not figure to last long however.
Both Teams Battle Back and Forth In the 2nd Half
Both teams would come out scorching hot out the gates in the 2nd half. The Huskies would go to Keion Brooks on the first position on a set play that gave Brooks an easy mid range jumper to get some early points for the team’s leading scorer.
Franck Kepnang was relatively quiet in the 1st half with two quick fouls and picked up a 3rd foul in the first 30 seconds. However, Kepnang stayed in the game and would score 6 points quickly by the way of a low post hook shot and then two monstrous dunks, both fed by Paul Mulcahy.
Isaiah Stevens woke up for Colorado State and scored 10 quick points in the first 8 minutes of the 2nd half and dished out a couple of key assists to keep the Rams in pace with the Huskies.
The Huskies would stretch out to a 7-point lead at 62-55 after a transition alley oop dunk to Keion Brooks from Sahvir Wheeler, his 11th assist of the game. However, Colorado State would battle back again and take the lead at 65-64 with under 7 minutes left.
The Huskies would face some major foul issues when both Sahvir Wheeler and Paul Mulcahy both picked up their 4th foul with 7 minutes left in the game. Both had combined for 27 points, 16 assists and only 1 turnover up to that point so a big challenge for the Huskies down the stretch.
Colorado State started to pull away and broke out to a 78 to 73 lead with under 4 minutes left in the game and was looking like danger time for Washington.
The Huskies would make another push and score 5 straight after a Moses Wood three-pointer and a baseline drive by Keion Brooks to tie the game at 78-78. However, yet again, the Rams would answer. Joel Scott, a 25% shooter would hit a dagger three-pointer with 1:07 seconds left to take a 3 point lead.
After a Sahvir Wheeler miss and now down Five points, the Huskies found Keion Brooks for a corner three-pointer to get back within two. After breaking the Huskies Press, the Rams found Josiah Strong streaking to the basket who was fouled by Franck Kepnang but saved a basket. Strong would hit 1 of two to give the Rams a 3 point lead with 26 seconds left.
The Huskies were looking to find Moses Wood but instead found Paul Mulcahy open in the corner. Mulcahy’s attempt just missed and Keion Brooks barely missed a tip-in as well, which led to another Josiah Strong leak out to ice the game at 86 to 81.
In a game that saw 15 lead changes and 7 ties, the Huskies couldn’t find a way in the end to clinch the game.
Washington loses by a final score of 86 to 81 and falls to 4-3 on the season and 0-3 versus the Mountain West Conference. All three MWC teams are each combined for a 19-1 record and top 45 in Kenpom but 3 very big opportunities lost for the Huskies.
The Huskies were led by Moses Wood with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Sahvir Wheeler finished with 13 points and 12 assists (0 turnovers) but was 2/9 from the field in the 2nd half. Keion Brooks did finish the game with 20 points, 15 in the 2nd half but not quite enough for the Huskies to come out on top.
The Huskies next face Montana State on Tuesday before a home matchup with the Gonzaga Bulldogs on December 9th and in need of a quality victory in the worst way.