Jakob Poeltl dominates Huskies with 29 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Utes
More often than not, the Huskies have been able to overcome their propensity to pick up silly fouls during their surprising hot start in Pac-12 play.
However during the 80-75 overtime defeat against Utah, the Washington men’s basketball team had no recourse against Jakob Poeltl other than to foul him, and the 7-foot center made them pay.
Poeltl had as many free throws and attempts as the Huskies, who kept things close and pushed the game into overtime on a clutch three-pointer before falling in the extra period.
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The defeat snapped UW’s three-game home winning streak in front of a season-high crowd of 8,073 at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies dropped to 13-6 overall and fell into a tie at the top of the conference with Oregon at 5-2.
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“Utah is a team that we talked about, you have to literally take the game away from them,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “They won’t hand it over to you. We weren’t able to do that tonight.”
In overtime, Poeltl scored eight points for Utah, which outscored UW 14-9. He finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds. He also converted 13 of 16 free throws and was 8 of 14 from the field.
“He’s a good big, but if you give him 16 free-throw attempts, he should have a big game, especially with his type of talent,” UW’s Andrew Andrews said about Poeltl, a sophomore who is considered an NBA lottery pick if he declares for the 2016 draft. “If we could keep him off the foul line, then …
“We just let him go off. At the end, he made us pay for it.”
Poeltl did a little bit of everything for Utah (15-5, 4-3 Pac-12). When he wasn’t scoring, he delivered four assists. Many of his interior passes connected with junior forward Kyle Kuzma, who finished with 11 points.
“Washington puts pressure on everybody and if you have a post player they try to prevent you from getting it in there,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “It wasn’t just Jakob going to work, but it was some of our guys doing a nice job of finding him. It’s not easy to make some of those passes.”
The Huskies did a nice job defensively in the first half when they allowed just 28.1 percent shooting (9 of 32) and the score was tied at 26.
Both teams were more productive offensively in the second half, but Utah had better rhythm and ball movement. The Utes finished with 17 assists on 29 baskets and the Huskies had nine assists on 28 baskets.
“In the second half we were able to play at our pace a little bit more,” Romar said. “I felt like there were too many times when we weren’t active enough defensively and allowed them to throw the ball wherever they wanted.
“We’ve done this several times going back to Arizona where we played pretty good defense in the first half and then in the second half we don’t do as good a job. And they took advantage of it. Several times there were blown coverages on the backside that we should have been there.”
Still, neither team led by more than five points in a game that was tied 11 times and saw 15 lead changes.
Despite a 17-point effort from Andrews, 15 points and six rebounds from Marquese Chriss and 14 points from Noah Dickerson, the Huskies appeared to be on the ropes when they trailed 66-61 with 1:29 left.
However, Andrews drained two free throws, which set up David Crisp’s late-game heroics.
Washington’s backup guard missed eight shots, including four behind the arc, before draining a step-back three-pointer in the corner over Poeltl to tie it at 66 with 16.5 seconds left.
“I was thinking in my head to have a short memory and I just told myself to remember what you did at (Rainier Beach High),” Crisp said. “Remember you’re a shooter and you can make shots. I was like if I can come back in and have the opportunity, (then) I’m going to make the next one for sure.”
Utah scored the first two baskets in overtime and never trailed again.
“We have to do a better job of (defending) people and not fouling so we can go up and down,” Andrews said. “We have to do a better job of keeping our hands off. The refs were calling the right calls. We were trying to front him and hook him a little bit. We just got to do a better job of that.”
9-10Sunday’s resultsUtah 80, Washington 75, OTOregon State 85, USC 70