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Huskies Cruise Past Montana State 85-61

Washington is led by Franck Kepnang’s Season High 16 points and 11 Rebounds.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 11 North Florida at Washington Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Back from Las Vegas after a tough loss to Colorado State, the Washington Huskies came home to Montlake for a little home cooking versus the Montana State Bobcats, which had several local Seattle products on the floor of their own. The Huskies proved too much for the Bobcats and rolled past Montana State by a score of 85-61 and move to 5-3 on the season.

The Huskies would see a balanced effort that saw 8 players with 7 points or more and four players in double figures, shooting over 50% from the field and from 3 (8-16)

After giving up 86 points to Colorado State, the Huskies looked to get their defense started early on. Paul Mulcahy was able to poke the ball away on Montana State’s first possession which led to a running Franck Kepnang layup to give the Huskies a quick 2-0 lead. The Huskies would create 3 turnovers in the first few minutes and held the Bobcats to one Field Goal in the first 5 minutes.

The Kentucky connection later added to their highlight collection with another alley oop dunk from Sahvir Wheeler to Keion Brooks. The pass would also be Wheeler’s 700th career assist.

However, the Huskies lead would quickly evaporate after the 1st Media Timeout. Local Mount Si Product Tyler Patterson would hit 3 straight 3’s and Montana State would score on 5 of their next 6 possessions to cut the Huskies lead to 19 to 17. Montana State would actually take a brief lead at 20-19 for a few seconds until Koren Johnson got on the board for his first basket.

Anthony Holland, who did not play at all in the Colorado State game entered the game early and quickly made his presence felt by knocking down a 3-pointer. Holland would then hit his 2nd three pointer to give the Huskies a 24-20 lead with under 8 minutes left.

The Huskies would finally get in a groove offensively and also picked up the pressure defensively to jump out to a big lead. The Huskies would go on a 15-0 and 20-2 run over the next 4 minutes to extend out to a 39 to 22 lead.

Franck Kepnang only had 1 rebound in 21 minutes versus Colorado State but would not let that happened again tonight. Kepnang would grab 8 rebounds in the 1st half and dominated the boards during the 15-0 run. Kepnang would also score 7 early points but left a few chances at the FT line for more. He would also chip in a couple of blocks including a monster block that led to a transition play for the Huskies.

The pace would slow down a bit in the final 2 minutes and got a little sloppy on both sides with multiple turnovers and several free throws.

The Huskies would go into the break leading 43 to 28 but felt like it could have been a wider margin. Keion Brooks and Koren Johnson both chipped in 9 points to lead the Huskies in the first half and Washington shot 50% overall from the field. UW missed 15 field goals in the first half but did grab 8 of those misses for offensive rebounds.

The Huskies Roll in the 2nd Half in a Balanced Effort

The Huskies would start the second half where they left off by scoring 6 straight points to start the half, led by Franck Kepnang off a nifty pass from Mulcahy and two straight layups by Sahvir Wheeler.

Franck Kepnang wasn’t finished and scored two more baskets including a follow up jam to a Keion Brooks missed reverse layup to give Kepnang a Double-Double early in the 2nd half. Anthony Holland would hit his 3rd three-pointer of the game and Paul Mulcahy would join the action with a corner three of his own to give the Huskies a commanding 60-34 lead.

Sahvir Wheeler, who struggled from the field against Colorado State, started to get going in the 2nd half. Wheeler scored 9 of his 14 points in the 2nd half on a few nifty layups and also chipped in 5 assists to 4 turnovers.

Paul Mulcahy would hit his own milestone later in the game with a nice dump off pass to Braxton Meah for a dunk, which would be Mulcahy’s 500th career assist. Not too shabby to have two guards with over 1,200 career assists combined. Both are also on pace to break UW’s Single season total of assists which would also be remarkable. Mulcahy would finish with 7 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in the game.

The last 10 minutes would turn into a rout, which led to some sloppy play full of turnovers and various rotations late in the game that lacked much chemistry on the floor. The Huskies would get out to a 33 point lead until the deep reserves entered the game late.

Montana State would hit 3 straight three’s in the last minute of the game to make the final score appear a little closer than what it truly was but the Huskies roll over the Bobcats by a final score of 85 to 61. This would be Huskies 4th straight game over 80 points and 4th straight game over 15 assists.

There was plenty of good in the game, including forcing 18 turnovers on defense and holding Montana State to only 39% shooting. The Huskies also grabbed 45 rebounds and 15 offensive boards. The Huskies also dished out 17 assists but had 15 turnovers, including several in the final minutes. Along with the turnovers, another area that will need to be cleaned up would be the free throw shooting as the Huskies only shot 13-22 (59%) from the line.

The player of the game would be Franck Kepnang who finished with a season high 16 points, 11 boards and 3 blocks but really set the tone for the Huskies. Anthony Holland would also set a season high with 11 points off of 3 three-pointers and Koren Johnson also chipped in 13 points off the bench.

Leading Scorer Keion Brooks failed to hit double figures for the first time this season and finished with 9 points but was not needed to carry the load this night.

The Huskies face their biggest challenge of the season this Saturday when they welcome their cross-state rivals in the #7 Gonzaga Bulldogs this Saturday at 8 pm.