The Huskies got a career-high 18 points from Nahziah Carter to defeat the Utes 69-53 and end a six-game losing streak to the Utes. It also was the Huskies' first win in Salt Lake City since 2012.
SALT LAKE CITY – Nahziah Carter matched David Crisp basket for basket during a spectacular scoring display Thursday night, which at one point prompted the senior guard to ask “You trying to catch me?”
For long stretches of Washington’s 69-53 win over Utah in front of 10,481 at the Huntsman Center, the battle between the Pac-12 teams took a backseat to the shooting exploits of two of the hottest Huskies.
Crisp, who tallied a season-high 23 points in UW’s previous outing, got things started when he drained four three-pointers in the first half. He finished with 17 points and personal-best tying five 3-pointers.
And Carter was equally sensational as he continued the best scoring stretch of his career with a career-high 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including 3 of 4 behind the arc.
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“I played off of (Crisp’s) energy,” Carter said. “He came out hot. A lot of dagger shots that quieted the crowd. As he’s being hot, I was just trying to get open.
“Once I got hot, it kind of just seemed like everybody was making shots.”
Well, not everybody.
The rest of the Huskies combined to shoot 34.9 percent (15 of 43), including 1 of 11 from downtown.
Surprisingly, Washington (11-4, 2-0 Pac-12) won its fourth straight game and snapped a six-game losing streak against Utah despite modest offensive performances from leading scorers Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson, who finished with 4 and 13 points respectively.
“We always got a next-man-up mentality,” said Crisp, who also had four assists, four steals and just one turnover in 37 minutes. “It can be anybody’s night at any time. Whatever we need to do to get a win, guys are going to step up.
“You saw Jay and Noah didn’t have the nights that they usually have so me and Naz stepped up. That’s what makes our team great because it can be any guy, any night.”
It was the Huskies’ first win at Utah since 2012, snapping a string of five straight defeats.
“I just know that we’ve never beaten these cats in my career and I just wanted to do whatever it took to get that win,” said Crisp, one of four UW seniors who was winless against Utah.
For Crisp, Thursday night was a reprisal of his most prolific scoring performance when he tallied a career-high 31 points and five 3-pointers two years ago as a sophomore during a blowout loss at Utah.
“A dude asked me before the beginning of the game, was it a couple of years ago when you lit us up? Don’t do it again tonight,” Crisp said. “I was like I can’t let y’all off the hook. I felt it and my guys did a great job of finding me.”
While Carter and Crisp led the way offensively, Nowell (12 rebounds), Matisse Thybulle (four blocks) and Sam Timmins (four blocks) highlighted UW’s dominant defensive effort that held Utah to a season low in points – 22 fewer than its scoring average.
“The biggest key to this game was defense,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “The big thing was (defending) the 3-point line and we did that.”
Washington limited the Pac-12’s most prolific perimeter offense to just 6-of-30 shooting behind the arc. The Utes (7-8, 1-2) received just 12 points from center Jayce Johnson while senior guard Sedrick Barefield, who leads the league with 43 three-pointers, had just 6 points on 2-for-8 shooting on 3-pointers.
In the previous five games, Barefield was averaging 22.8 while shooting 54.8 percent (23 of 42) on 3-pointers.
“They did a good job of knowing where Sederick was,” Hopkins said. “He’s been on of the hottest players in the league. Great player. We did a great job of focusing on him.
“They executed the game plan. They played together and they played with energy. When you do that regardless of man-to-man, zone or whatever, you got a good chance to win.”
Washington was up 38-30 at halftime and extended its lead to 45-30 when Dickerson went on a personal 7-0 run to start the second half.
After Utah cut its 15-point deficit (45-30) to five (47-42), the Huskies put the game away with a 12-0 run.
Carter led the way with seven points during the decisive spurt. He retrieved a lob from Crisp and flushed an alley-opp dunk before draining a 3-pointer and knocking down a pull-up, mid-range jumper that gave the Huskies a 59-42 lead with 8:34 left.
Utah, which trailed for 38 minutes, never got any closer the rest of the way.
“I guess I was holding him back at the beginning of the year,” Hopkins said smiling when asked about Carter’s streak of five superlative outings. “He keeps getting better and more confident. When everybody is confident and we’re sharing it, I think this is the first game in two years that we had 2-to-1 assists to turnover ratio. That says it all to me.”
Washington finished with a season-high 16 assists and a season-low 8 turnovers.
Following last week’s crushing 85-67 win over Washington State, Hopkins fielded questions for the second straight contest if the Huskies had played their best game of the season.
“I think we can still play a lot better,” he said. “I’ve said before I think we we got 8-9 guys who can start for this team. That’s not just coaching rhetoric, that’s reality.
“We just got to say humble, hungry and wise.”