Washington continued one of the longest – and strangest – streaks of dominance in the Pac-12 with a 64-56 win over Oregon State on Thursday night.
It’s the 16th straight win for the Huskies over the Beavers in Seattle dating to 2004.
Washington improved to 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the Pac-12.
Here are three impressions.
No Jaden, no problem
Freshman star Jaden McDaniels missed his first game of the season due to an ankle injury suffered last Saturday at California.
Normally, the absence of UW’s second-leading scorer, rebounder, shot blocker and playmaker would be cause for concern.
However, the Huskies received a balanced scoring attack in which five players scored in double figures.
It’s just the second time this season Washington has had at least five players score at least 10 points. The only other time it happened was when six players scored in double figures during a 90-80 win over Eastern Washington on Dec. 4.
The ‘other’ freshmen step up
Isaiah Stewart and McDaniels have garnered so much attention this season that UW’s other freshmen, RaeQuan Battle and Marcus Tsohonis, have been relegated to supporting roles.
But on Thursday, Battle and Tsohonis provided major contributions for the first time this season.
Batttle finished with 11 points, including three three-pointers, while replacing McDaniels in his first start. Battle also had three steals and a whopping plus/minus rating of +15.
Meanwhile, Tsohonis, who was affectionately dubbed ‘Joe Cool’ by coach Mike Hopkins, came in off the bench and had 11 points and three assists. He dropped in several mid-range floaters and took over the ballhandling in the final minutes when Oregon State pressed in a desperate comeback attempt.
Hopkins said he debated on whether to start Battle or Tsohonis, but knew both would play significant minutes. Battle played 24 minutes and Tsohonis 29.
This defense can win games
If Washington can hold teams to just two three-pointers, then the Huskies are going to be difficult to beat.
Washington limited USC to just two three-pointers and crushed the Trojans 72-40 last week.
On Thursday, the Huskies shut down Oregon State’s perimeter attack, as the Beavers converted just 2 of 12 shots behind the arc.
It hardly mattered that the Beavers tripled the Huskies’ free-throw attempts and went 14 of 22 on foul shots.
And it was of little consequence that UW lost the rebounding battle 36-24.
Hopkins will give away a few fouls and rebounds if it means the Huskies will practically shut down the opposing team’s perimeter attack.
So far, it’s a winning formula for Washington.