Texas and Washington are both undergoing transitions in their programs. Washington, as we have mentioned more than a few times, is made up of a whole bunch of guys who weren't here last year. Texas is headed by a new face this year, with Shaka Smart breaking in his HAVOC system with a whole new team of players. The signs were there that we might have clawed our eyes before the game out were there.
If you made it through the first half, then it turned into a well-contested game. The Huskies maintained the lead for most of the second half, with most of the heavy lifting in the 77-71 victory done by the two upper classmen in the rotation. Andrew Andrews scored 23, doing most of his damage at the free throw line. Malik Dime finished with a double-double, 10 points and 15 rebounds.
There was a scary moment halfway through the second half when Noah Dickerson, who was part of a strong three-headed frontcourt effort with Dime and Marquesse Chriss, fell without contact clutching his knee. The immediate assumption was that he tore his ACL, but only a few minutes later Dickerson returned to the floor.
Dickerson fell victim to one of the several rule changes early on, when he took a charge while standing on the newly-expanded restricted area. That might have been the least-impacting of the two major rule changes, the other being the hand-checking rule. Devenir Druruisseau and Donaven Dorsey both fouled out - the Huskies and Longhorns combined for 60 fouls and 28 turnovers. It wasn't exactly pretty.
Three takeaway Dots from the opening tip in China:
- He only shot 4-16 from the field, but Andrews scoring 23 points was the only consistent source of offense for the Huskies aside from second-chances. He went 12-16 from the foul line, and it was more than necessary. He has a chance to drop 40 on a team this year. He has cut down on boneheaded mistakes every year, and so long as he takes less stepback 20-foot jumpers he could actually be borderline efficient.
- The Huskies are built around youth and built on athleticism. The first two offensive plays were alley-oop attempts that admittedly didn't work, but it shows just how athletic this team knows it is, and how mistake-prone it is. Turnovers and dumb plays will cost Washington more than a few games this season, but they are all going to be correctable issues with experience and coaching.
- Miscellaneous dot: Bill Walton is amazing, Bill Walton is terrible. It was really cool that the Huskies were able to play basketball in China. It was more awesome that the Huskies were able to win a game in China.