UW shut down Utah in the second half, allowing just 18 points after the break, including zero field goals for more than 11 minutes into the half. The Utes' 45 points were the fewest for a Pac-12 team in any game this season.
The Huskies’ defense was as good as it’s ever been and they ‘zoned out’ Utah for an impressive 62-45 win Wednesday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Washington (21-5, 12-1 Pac-12) kept its home record perfect at 13-0.
Here are three impressions.
UW’S DEFENSE IS TOO GOOD
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Utah entered the game tied for third in the Pac-12 and 3½ games behind Washington, but the distance between the two teams is much greater than a handful of games.
Simply put, the Huskies are a bad matchup for the Utes. (In fact, UW might be a bad matchup for several teams.)
In two games, Utah has totaled 98 points against Washington, which matches the Utes’ total in a 98-86 win over Arizona State in the Pac-12 opener.
Utah’s 45 points were the fewest Washington has allowed a Pac-12 opponent since a 56-43 win over Oregon State in 2015. (UW held Sacramento State to 41 points on Dec. 21, 2018.)
It was the lowest scoring game for Utah since a 71-39 defeat to No. 4 Arizona on March 13, 2014.
Since coach Larry Krystkowiak took over in 2011-12, Wednesday’s performance tied the fifth-lowest scoring game during his seven-year tenure.
And it was fewest points a Pac-12 team has scored – in any game – this season.
“We could not hit free throws,” said Krystkowiak who lamented Utah’s 9-for-16 shooting at the line. “We didn’t finish around the rim. We had too many turnovers and that is what happens when you don’t score points.
“But, that is that and that is why they lead the conference in field goal percentage defense. That zone is daunting and we didn’t step up and make plays.”
After Sedrick Barefield sank his first four shots – all three-pointers – and scored 12 points, Washington took away Utah’s best player and the Utes didn’t have a Plan B.
Barefield didn’t score again and no one else tallied more than nine points on a night when freshman forward Timmy Allen, who averages 11.8 points, missed his first game of the season due to a back injury.
Washington held Utah scoreless for 15 minutes, 48 seconds between the first and second halves, which sparked a 24-4 run that erased a three-point deficit and gave the Huskies a commanding 46-29 lead.
And that was the game.
UW’S STARS SHOWED UP AND SHOWED OUT
The Huskies received contributions from all parts of the roster as five players scored in double figures.
Matisse Thybulle was all-around spectacular with 10 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four blocks in 33 minutes.
Jaylen Nowell uncharacteristically missed two open three-pointers, but he finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
David Crisp pulled off an amazing reverse layup against two defenders in the first half for two of his 10 points. He also had five assists.
Noah Dickerson drew six fouls, hit 5 of 6 free throws and tallied 11 points.
And for the second straight game, Nahziah Carter led UW in scoring against Utah and finished with 12 points off the bench on 5-of-6 shooting.
A few of UW’s role players also had a hand in the blowout victory.
Sophomore forward Hameir Wright, who canned a season-high two 3-pointers in his previous outing, had a dreadful night shooting the ball. However, he made one of the biggest plays in the game with a block from behind at the rim to erase what looked to be a sure-fire layup from 7-foot center Jayce Johnson. Wright also collected six rebounds.
Dominic Green hit one of the biggest shots in the game with a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half and send the Huskies to the locker room with a 33-27 lead.
It didn’t take Sam Timmins very long – 5 minutes and 27 seconds, to be precise – to use all of his five fouls. It was short outing, but he made his presence felt.
Washington converted just 4 of 20 three-pointers, but the Huskies attacked the Utes inside and outscored them 36-12 in the paint.
The Huskies also committed just nine turnovers, which was their fewest in nine games.
Washington has scored at least 70 points in just one of its last four games and yet, the Huskies have a 4-1 record during that span.
COUNTDOWN TO THE PAC-12 TITLE
It’s Washington or Oregon State for the Pac-12 title, with Arizona State still in the mix.
The Huskies have a 3½-game lead over the Beavers (16-8, 8-4) and Sun Devils (18-8, 9-5).
OSU has six games remaining, UW five and ASU four.
Mathematically Arizona State is still alive, but the Sun Devils would need a lot of help.
Oregon State, which plays at UCLA on Thursday and USC on Saturday, could finish with 14 conference wins.
For the Huskies, their magic number is two.
With two wins, Washington would clinch its first Pac-12 title since 2012.
The Huskies could also secure the league title on Saturday with a win against Colorado and two losses by OSU and loss by ASU.