The Washington Huskies rolled into Auburn looking to test themselves against the #11 Tigers and lost 88-66 in their season road opener.
Coming into the game, Washington head coach Mike Hopkins said the mindset of the program is to play tough teams early to see where they are at.
“You’ve got to go out there like we’ve got something to prove,’’ he said. “We haven’t done anything yet. That’s the message.” Hopkins said recently.
Tonight, the Huskies got completely dominated in every single facet of the game and couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm, to effectively impact the game.
During the first half, the Huskies were trying to find themselves while Auburn came out and imposed their will early, and never looked back.
For a second straight game, Husky forward Noah Dickerson found himself in foul trouble from the out start and couldn’t get his game going consistently as a result.
“When he’s been great, we’ve been great. Today we needed him in the game. When your best player gets in foul trouble early, it’s never a good sign. They went at him and had a good game plan.” Hopkins said after the game.
Hopkins aggressive 2-3 zone found itself breaking down throughout the night as the Auburn Tigers were able to make shots from behind the arc.
The Tigers finished with a game high 12 three-pointers on the night, and were able to attack the Huskies zone defense from all areas.“We knew they were really aggressive. We wanted to take away the threes, so we got hurt on both areas. If we take away the threes, they got 15 to 20 points on offensive rebounds. They were physical and they were disruptive. That’s a really good basketball team.” Hopkins said
Another telling statistic was the differential on the offensive glass with Auburn winning that battle 19-3 against the Huskies.
Turnovers have continued to plague the Huskies as they finished with a game high 18 on the night, and you can’t give a top level team extra possessions.
“It’s hard to come from behind in a place like this, but you’ve got to give Auburn a lot of credit. They forced us into turnovers. They were aggressive on the offensive glass. Those are two areas that we just weren’t great tonight and they were.” Coach Hopkins said.
At halftime, the Huskies were only down 48-30 and just needed to settle down a bit and make a game of it in the second half.
It was not to be! Every time the Huskies got a little momentum, the Tigers were able to increase their lead and run away with the game.
For Hopkins and company, this game provided a blueprint for the what the team needs to improve upon, in order to live up to expectations this year.
Make no mistake, Auburn is an elite team and the Huskies found out that they are not quite there yet. The silver lining is the season is only two games in and the Huskies have time to find their stride along the way.
The Huskies were paced by sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell who finished with 16 points but had a game high 6 turnovers on the night.
One big bright spot on the night was the contribution off the bench from sophomore forward Nahziah Carter, who finished with 16 points and 2 steals.
Auburn was led by Chuma Okeke who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds and he set the tone for the Tigers the entire game.
The Huskies (1-1) return to the home court on Monday, November 12th at 8:00pm PST at Alaska Airlines Arena when they take on the San Diego Toreros.