Before the exhibition opener, the Huskies had never surrendered 103 points during the previous 14 years under coach Lorenzo Romar.
In the past two victories – one official and one unofficial – the Huskies have surrendered 205 points.
Washington outgunned Division II Western Washington 109-103 in Thursday’s exhibition, which was eerily similar to the Huskies’ 107-102 win over Long Beach State 107-102 in the first round of 2016 National Invitation Tournament.
The 103 points was the most a Lorenzo Romar UW team has ever allowed.
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In 2002, the Huskies were beaten 105-60 by then-No.19 Stanford.
Needless to say, the 103 points Washington surrendered to the Vikings is the most in an exhibition in recent history.
And truth be told, the Huskies were thisclose from an embarrassing defeat. They trailed 87-84 with 4:21 and it was a two-possession game in the final minute.
The Vikings are no slouch. They were picked second in the GNAC and historically, they’ve given the Huskies fits. In 2012, Washington beat Western Washington 88-78. UW won 105-85 in 2008 and 81-76 in 2001.
Granted, the Huskies were without Noah Dickerson who suffered a concussion and should return for the regular-season opener. But Romar said the sophomore forward probably wouldn’t have made a difference with the porous perimeter defense tonight.
Here’s a look at the boxscore.
And here are three takeaways from the game:
SCORING WON’T BE AN ISSUE: Most teams that lose its top three leading scorers like the Huskies are usually worried about how they’re going to tally points. That doesn’t appear to be a problem for UW. It’s a great sign for the Huskies when Dominic Green and David Crisp – jump shooters who ranked among the UW players with the fewest free throws per usage rate last season – combined for more FTs (28) than field goals (24). Green bounced back from a 1-for-4 shooting in the first half and scored 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half. He was 3 of 8 on three-pointers and 8 of 13 at the line. Crisp tallied 23 points. He was 13 of 15 on FTs. Six Huskies scored in double figures, including Matisse Thybulle (17 points), Markelle Fultz (14) and Sam Timmins and Malik Dime who each had 10. And speaking of Timmins and Dime, they were nearly perfect from the field against a smaller WWU interior defense. Timmins was 5 for 5 while Dime was 4 of 6. Newcomer Matthew Atewe (8 points on 3-for-4 shooting) also looked like he can be a scoring threat. Romar hasn’t had this many low-post scoring options since – never.
DEFENSE COULD BE AN ISSUE: Giving up 103 points is not good. In fact, it’s quite bad. Very bad. Especially when you consider the caliber of competition is going to increase in a few weeks. Yale may not be able to light up the scoreboard in the Nov. 13 opener, but Gonzaga can and will torch the Huskies if UW doesn’t address its defensive deficiencies. You might excuse Thursday’s performance as just a bad outing in the opener. But as we stated above, the Huskies gave up 102 points in the second to last game last season. You have to wonder if the problems are more than talent, but an issue with the scheme. The Huskies are not switching nearly as much on screens as they did last season. Still when teams penetrate the middle, Washington has a tendency to leave open shooters on the perimeter. And UW’s 3-2 zone was ineffective. When the Vikings shot the Huskies out of the zone, UW had trouble keeping players out of the paint and resorted to fouling. UW committed 27 fouls that sent the Vikings to the line 40 times, which nullifies a 51-29 rebounding advantage. But then, the Huskies had a considerable size advantage on the front line and was expected to dominate inside.
THIS TEAM IS TOO UNSELFISH: There is no TV replay to refute this, but I imagine most of UW’s 16 turnovers came on passes when a guy was trying to force the ball to a teammate. Timmins and Thybulle – who each had three TOs – were guilty of this a few times. Crisp (four TOs) too. At times he got caught overdribbling into the defense and was forced to make a play that wasn’t there. Even though Fultz had 3 TOs, the ball was safest in his hands. When he was out of the game, the Huskies got a little too carefree with the ball. Vikings coach Tony Dominguez said UW will do a better job taking care of the ball once Fultz matures. Said Dominguez: “The more he gets comfortable, the better he’s going to be at this level. You can see the talent. It’s there. … We saw it tonight. Late in the game, he made three plays that proved to be the difference and we didn’t make those plays. We got caught up in the 1-on-1 game and it cost us. He’s going to be a good. Heck, he’s already a good one.”