The Huskies pulled out a 91-87 comeback victory over Division II Saint Martin's in their only dress rehearsal before the Nov. 10 season opener against Belmont.
A few thoughts on the Washington men’s basketball team’s 91-87 win over Division II Saint Martin’s.
The Good: Free-throw shooting
The Huskies wisely did not get into a shooting contest with Saint Martin’s and took advantage of their size and superior athleticism while attacking the basket. The Saints couldn’t keep them of the lane and fouled UW 30 times. (The Huskies had 19 fouls). Washington converted 30 of 39 shots at the charity stripe. (Saint Martin’s was 13 of 21). Noah Dickerson canned 13 of 17 free throws, including an airball that he said was the result of a loose contact lens. UW shot 76.9 percent at the line, which is a significant improvement for a team that was 65.4 percent last season. And when they fell behind 73-64 with 9:17 left, coach Mike Hopkins switched gears defensively and the Huskies responded with game-winning plays in the final minutes.
The bad: Offensive flow
Washington scored 91 points (46 in the first half and 45 in the second), which is an incredible achievement no matter the opponent. Dickerson did his damage at the FT line and inside while scoring a team-high 21 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. David Crisp made timely big baskets en route to 18 points. Matisse Thybulle was 4 of 11 from the field, including 1 of 4 on three-pointers, but he 5 of 6 at the line for 14 points. Nahziah Carter added 10 points off the bench before fouling out. And Jaylen Nowell is probably the go-to player when UW needs a basket. He’s able to create his own shot, drive to the rim and shoot three-pointers. Nowell finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He also had four steals and three assists a 24-minute stellar debut. Despite committing just 10 turnovers and shooting 45 percent from the field, Hopkins felt UW was out of sync offensively. The Huskies played a lot of 1-on-1 ball and finished with just nine assists on 27 field goals. Crisp, who took a team-high 16 shots and made 7, led UW with four assists and his ability to be a playmaker and create shots for teammates will be an ongoing theme this season. Nowell also handled the point guard duties at times.
The ugly: Perimeter defense
Saint Martin’s connected on 18 of 34 three-pointers (52.9 percent). Saints sharp-shooter EJ Boyce, a 6-2 redshirt junior guard who transferred from San Jose State, canned 7 of 12 from downtown for 22 points. And Luke Chavez, a 6-4 junior guard, drained 6 of 10 from downtown for a game-high 32 points. He was 12 of 18 from the field. Time and again, the Huskies lost track of Boyce and Chavez who exposed the soft spots in UW’s 2-3 zone.
Note: UW started Crisp, Thybulle, Nowell, Dickerson and Dominic Green, who finished with eight points. Sophomore guard Carlos Johnson (6 points and 7 rebounds) came off the bench along with freshman forward Hamier Wright and sophomore forward Sam Timmins who were scoreless.
And here’s a look at the box score: