The former Garfield High School star and UW Husky signee recorded a double-double in helping hand his hometown team a heartbreaking 73-64 defeat.
It’s rare when an opposing player lingers on the court at Alaska Airlines Arena long after the game and signs autographs for fans of all ages.
But for Daejon Davis, this has always been a special place and the Stanford freshman scripted a near-perfect homecoming Saturday while handing the Huskies a 73-64 defeat in front of 8,256.
“It was amazing,” said Davis, the former UW signee who starred at Garfield High and Lakeside the past four years. “It was everything that I could have imagined. Coming here and getting the win against a really good Washington team.
Nowell’s hot hand
UW freshman Jaylen Nowell has scored at least 10 points in 11 straight games and in 17 of his 18 career games. Nowell has hit 20 points or higher in seven games.
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“They had a lot of confidence coming in with some key wins in the season. Our goal was to come out on the road and get a sweep, and that’s what we did.”
Davis made sure of that with his first double-double performance and arguably the best outing of his young college career. The 6-foot-3 guard finished with 16 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes.
The only blemish on the night was seven turnovers.
“It wasn’t a perfect game, almost though,” Davis said smiling. “We had some troubles with their press, and they did some things to speed us up.”
Washington forced 18 turnovers, which proved to be its best defense against a towering Stanford front line that dominated inside.
The Huskies overcame being outscored 42-26 in the paint, but they couldn’t counter the Cardinal’s 48-28 advantage on rebounds. Stanford had 14 offensive rebounds, which explains the 13-2 disparity in second-chance points.
“They out-toughed us,” said junior guard David Crisp, who finished with 11 points. “We’ve played big teams. They wanted it more. Tonight, we didn’t come out with that sense of urgency. If you don’t come out with a sense of urgency, you’re going to get manhandled.
“You get outrebounded by 20 boards, there’s no excuse for that. That’s just no effort. I don’t care how big a team is, you’ve got to put a body on somebody.”
At times the Huskies appeared lethargic and were outclassed in a game in which they trailed for more than 35 minutes while shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 22.7 percent (5 of 22) on three-pointers.
“We’re not going to win a lot of games shooting those percentages,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “I don’t know if it was a lack of execution, just missing open shots or one of those days.”
However, Washington cut an 11-point deficit at the 7:40 mark to two points (62-60) on a pair of free throws from Matisse Thybulle with 3:52 left.
Seconds later on the ensuing possession, Davis snatched the momentum away with a three-pointer just before the shot clock expired. It was a dagger that quieted the crowd and seemed to suck the air out of the building.
On the next offensive trip, Dorian Pickens drained another three and Washington never seriously threatened again as Stanford ended the game with an 11-4 run.
It was an uncharacteristic collapse for a UW team that had been clutch in the final minutes of several wins and has a 9-1 record in games decided by 10 points or less.
After the game, Hopkins assumed the blame for a defensive scheme that allowed the late three-pointers. Before those shots, Stanford was 2 of 11 behind the arc.
“We got them to two seconds on the shot clock and we really wanted to change and be tight,” Hopkins said. “And then Jon-Jon (Davis) made that three and that was a killer.
“And I called a trap out of one of our plays. We trapped and they were able to get Pickens on the weak side for a three. I thought those were the two back-breakers. That’s on me. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.”
Offensively, the Huskies had few answers other than Jaylen Nowell, who overcame a rough start and finished with a game-high 20 points in 35 minutes.
The freshman guard won the one-on-one battle against Davis, one of his best friends and a former teammate at Garfield.
“I knew he was going to come out and he was going to go at us,” Nowell said when asked about Davis. “That’s the type of player he is. He played very well for them tonight.”
Stanford (10-8, 4-1 Pac-12) received 16 points from Reid Travis, while Michael Humphrey added 13.
In front of their second-largest crowd at Alaska Airlines Arena, the Huskies (13-5, 3-2) delivered a disappointing effort that spoiled a chance to gain a share of the lead in the Pac-12 standings.
“If we want to be great we have to play the whole game,” Crisp said. “When you’re playing in league everyone is giving you their best shot and every game’s going to be strong so we have to be mentally strong.”
Washington plays at Utah (10-6, 2-3) on Thursday.