Big win for Washington who turned its Pac-12 opener against No. 25 UCLA into an instant classic that won’t soon be forgotten.
The Huskies trailed by 10 in the first half and overcame a pair of big shots from Bryce Alford to claim a 96-93 double overtime victory that snapped a five-game losing streak to the Bruins.
Washington improved to 9-4 overall and 1-0 Pac-12.
Here are three impressions.
Andrew Andrews is balling: At halftime the senior guard had just eight points on 2-for-5 shooting and three turnovers. It looked as if he wasn’t going to be able to carry the Huskies in a game when they needed someone to take them to the finish. But Andrews finished with a career-high tying 35 points, including seven in the decisive second OT. It was an important game for Andrews who outdueled Alford, who had 30 points. It wasn’t necessarily a 1-on-1 matchup, but Andrews needed to a performance to erase memories of his sub-par showing two weeks against Oakland’s Kay Felder, who torched the Huskies for 38 points. Andrews late-game heroics were reminiscent of his last-second shots last season in wins at Washington State and Colorado. Not sure if the Huskies will need 35 points from him every night, but they need a steady hand at the end when games are tight.
David and Dime pack a tremendous punch off the bench: For the third straight game, UW reserves David Crisp and Malik Dime scored in double figures. And they impact the game in many ways other than scoring. Dime had 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting and seven rebounds before fouling out. Crisp finished with 13 points, including three three-pointers, three assists and two steals in 34 minutes. Each play a vital role for the Huskies, who rely primarily on a seven-man rotation. Freshman Dominic Green played what looked like four solid minutes in the first half, but he never got off the bench again. With Crisp and Dime leading the way, UW’s reserves outscored UCLA 31-9.
The Pac-12 – and perhaps the NCAA – needs to rethink what they’re doing: Many of the 6,920 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena were booing the referees throughout the game and it wasn’t your typical home-crowd fans angst at officiating. The NCAA made it a point to tighten up on the touch fouls and hand checking. The mandate went out to the refs and they’re doing that they’ve been told. There were a lot of fouls at the start of the season, but coaches, players and fans thought the refs would lighten up now that we’re close to midway through the season. No such luck. Tonight’s game included 64 combined fouls and 90 free throws. It was joke. Seriously. Credit the refs for staying consistent. Both teams had to deal with it. UCLA lost starters Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday while the Huskies lost Marquese Chriss, Noah Dickerson and Dime. Through it all, Washington fared better in the frenetic game. The Huskies forced 25 turnovers and committed 17.