Jaylen Nowell led UW with 20 points while Michael Carter III played a season-high 23 minutes.

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The Washington men’s basketball team relied heavily on its freshmen in Thursday’s 66-56 win over California.

Guard Jaylen Nowell led the Huskies in their Pac-12 home opener with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 6-for-8 shooting on free throws. He also had five rebounds and two steals to offset six turnovers.

Nahziah Carter added 10 points and Michael Carter III was invaluable off the bench as a ball handler against Cal’s backcourt pressure.

Here are a few quotes and look at the postgame interview with Nowell and Michael Carter.

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JAYLEN NOWELL:

(On not having a frantic finish for a change) “It was definitely a great breather for us. As most of our games definitely did have to come back from being down. But it was fun playing with the guys. We were having a lot of fun out there, playing very hard.”

(On if that was the most physical game he’s played) “No. I’ve been in way more physical games than this. Coming from the Metro League and high school…I’m pretty used to it so we came out and just focused on going back at ’em no matter what.”

(On Cal’s pressure and 2-3 zone helping or hurting because UW does the same thing) “Definitely helped because at practice we’re always working on those presses and breaking them. We had the right plays and we executed down the stretch.”

(On the difference in the better three-point shooting) “When you’re always playing a zone that’s one of the main ways to score in a zone – either attack it or shot the outside ball. We were ready for that coming out.”

MICHAE CARTER III:

(On UW needing a second ball handler against Cal’s press) “Yeah. If we took care of the ball with their press it was easy to break. Me being a ball-handler and Dave being a ball-handler and (Jaylen) – all three in you can’t press us.”

(On his hand and being back) “I feel very comfortable. My recovery went really well, my physical therapy went really well, and I’m just glad to be back.”

(On showing he can shoot) “Yeah, trying to show it off, show ’em I can shoot.”

(On the growth of the freshmen) “I think over the year, at first the other three freshmen weren’t getting as much playing time but we grew through practice and through the little time that we got. Now that we’re in the second half of the season I feel like we’ve matured a lot more and we’re a lot more ready for the games when they need us.”