Jaylen Nowell leads the Huskies with game-high 26 points while David Crisp has 20. Matisse Thybulle finishes with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks.
Making Final Four reservations might be premature, but the Washington men’s basketball team certainly is giving its fans plenty to be excited about after an exhibition victory at Nevada.
The Huskies used a big second-half rally to capture a convincing 91-73 victory at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
There were several notable developments from its first outing, which bodes well for UW.
— Washington outscored the Mountain West regular-season champion 52-33 in the second half and held the Wolf Pack to 28.6 percent (10 of 35) shooting after the break. Nevada shot 38.8 percent in the game.
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— UW, which at times struggled offensively last season, shot 61.7 percent from the floor and converted half of its three-pointers (11 of 22) against a veteran Nevada team that allowed opponents an average of 73.1 points last season.
— The Huskies went on the road and beat a team that’s been rated among the top 10 in the country in many preseason rankings by 18 points without arguably their best player, Noah Dickerson. The All-Pac-12 forward didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury.
Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell began what could be a big year with an efficient 26-point performance in which he connected on 12 of 15 field goals. He also had six rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes.
Senior guard David Crisp led the Huskies in scoring early while tallying 13 of his 20 points in the first half when Washington went into the break down 40-39.
Senior forward Matisse Thybulle finished with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks in 34 minutes.
And three-point specialist Dominic Green, who started in place of Dickerson, connected on 4 of 5 shots from downtown for 12 points. The senior guard sank a three-pointer that gave the Huskies a 52-49 lead with 14:33 left and they never trailed again.
Washington led 67-62 with 9:06 left before outscoring Nevada 24-11 the rest of the way. Backup forward Hameir Wright led the way during the spurt and scored six of his eight points. He also had five rebounds in 24 minutes.
Defensively, the Huskies negated Nevada’s top scoring threats.
Senior forward Caleb Martin, the Mountain West’s preseason player of the year, finished with just 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting. Meanwhile, 6-foot-11 freshman center Jordan Brown, a McDonald’s All-American, had 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Still, it wasn’t a perfect game for Washington.
Junior forward Sam Timmins fouled out in nine minutes with just two points and one rebound. He was the only UW starter who played fewer than 34 minutes.
The Huskies also committed 14 turnovers and sent Nevada to the free-throw line 24 times.
Freshman center Bryan Penn-Johnson led the UW newcomers with four points in just nine minutes while wing Jamal Bey was scoreless in two minutes. Freshmen Elijah Hardy and Nate Roberts did not play.
Washington plays host to Seattle Pacific in an exhibition on Nov. 1 before its Nov. 6 season opener against Western Kentucky at Alaska Airlines Arena.