Huskies make several runs in the second half, but come up short against the Trojans. UW returns home tied for second in the Pac-12.
Neither team led by more than three points in the first 13 minutes and Washington trailed 23-22 with 8:09 left in the first half. USC closed the half with a 21-11 run to go ahead 44-33 at the break.
That proved to be the defining run in the Huskies’ 98-88 defeat.
UW outscored USC 55-54 in the second half, but came away with the loss that evened their regular-season series 1-1.
Washington fell to 14-7 and 6-3 in the Pac-12. The Huskies are tied for second in the conference with the Trojans (17-5, 6-3).
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Here’s three takeaways.
GOT TO PLAY DEFENSE WITHOUT FOULING — In the second halves of the past six games the Huskies have allowed 55, 51, 40, 50, 51 and 55 points. That’s a lot. Normally, Washington has struggled with foul trouble. Today UW – especially the bigs – did a nice job of avoiding fouls. That’s the good news. However, the Huskies allowed USC to shoot 51.7 percent from the field. The Trojans also also attempted 37 free throws and made 32.
TOO MANY THREES ON THE ROAD — Unless Steph Curry is on your team, you probably shouldn’t take 32 three-pointers on the road. Heck, that’s a lot for teams when they’re playing at home. But on the road, that’s way too many. Especially, when they’re not falling. UW only made eight and shot 25 percent behind the arc. It wasn’t as if USC had an intimidating defense either. Trojans center Nikola Jovanovic is good – he had 28 points – but he’s not a imposing shot blocker. The Huskies needed to go inside more than they did. It didn’t help that freshman forward Noah Dickerson was limited with a foot injury and played just 16 minutes. Freshman forward Marquese Chriss finished with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, but he could have gotten a few more attempts in the first half when he had four. Freshman guard Dejounte Murray (18 points) was on attack mode in the second half, but the Huskies need a few other players to attack the rim. Andrew Andrews tried at times, but he struggled to score despite tallying 15 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
HALFWAY HOME — Only nine games remain in the Pac-12 race and the Huskies are in second place. Their situation could have been better, but few expected they would be a game out of first place at this point. Remember, UW was picked to finish 11th in a preseason media poll. Got to wonder if those two nonconference losses to Oakland and UC Santa Barbara will hurt the Huskies next month. Even though they’re second in the league, the other top teams have a better overall record.