In a game that had many twists and turns, the Huskies were able to survive a furious comeback by the Redhawks and win 70-62.
At the start of the game, the Huskies came out to a slow start, as the Redhawks took the early lead with a couple of three pointers.
It seemed as if the Huskies were experiencing an emotional letdown after their tough loss against the Gonzaga Bulldogs this past week.
Senior forward Noah Dickerson was hampered the entire first half, with a nagging knee injury, and had to limp to the bench.
He was unable to get into a rhythm and provide that dominant force in the middle, that the Huskies rely upon so much.
A huge bright spot in the first half was senior forward Dominic Green. He came off the bench and provided a huge boost.
Green finished the first half going 3-for-4 from behind the arc and was the Huskies most consistent shooting presence.
Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell looked great the first half and kept the Huskies offense going with 12 points of his own.
Before the end of the half, Nowell was hit on the forearm while shooting and there was no call by the officials.
Washington head coach Mike Hopkins erupted on the bench and was hit with a technical foul. Seattle University went on a 4-0 run after the technical foul and gained some momentum back.
Heading into halftime, the Huskies led 41-34 in a half where the Huskies could not separate themselves from the Redhawks.
In the second half, the Huskies came out with more energy and life than they did in the first half and were able to get into a rhythm.
Defensively, senior guard Matisse Thybulle was able to set the tone with his aggressive play and his teammates followed his lead.
Halfway through the game at the 9:39 mark, the Huskies held a 58-38 lead and were firmly in control of the game. It looked like the Huskies would finish the game with a blowout victory.
Rather, the Huskies took their foot off the gas pedal and let Seattle University back into the game down the stretch.
“We thought the game was over. We kind of mailed it in,” Thybulle said.
The Husky fans at Alaska Airlines Arena were getting very nervous with just a few minutes left, as the Redhawks came storming back into the game.
At one point, Seattle University went on a 19-2 run to cut the lead down to 2 point, with the Huskies leading 62-60 and 1:49 left in the game.
“We just got sloppy. That’s just the bottom line. We have to do a lot better job. We have to have more respect for that in terms of the game, making extra passes and not just throwing the ball all over the gym.” Hopkins said after the game.
Down the final two minutes of the game, the Huskies made the plays when it counted and were fortunate to hang on for the victory.
“We started getting like the game is over and you can’t have that. I’ve got to coach better, they’ve got to play better and you can’t let missed shots and those things affect your defense.” Hopkins said.
The Huskies were led by Jaylen Nowell who ended up with 18 points and 9 rebounds on the night. Seattle University was led by junior guard Morgan Means, who finished with 21 points and 3 assists.
“We just haven’t been through that much adversity as a group yet and obviously we were on the ropes. We regrouped and focused, and I thought our guys showed great pride and kept fighting,” Seattle coach Jim Hayford said. “We played a really good, smart first 10 minutes, a really impassioned last 10 minutes but if you’re going to beat a team that just took the No. 1 team in the nation on the road all 40 minutes you’ve got to play all 40 minutes.”
Mike Hopkins didn’t look very happy in the final moments of the game, as his team made it harder than it needed to be.
Nevertheless, it’s a win and the Huskies will learn from it and improve their focus in holding on to leads and finishing out games.
The Huskies (7-3), return to the court later this week at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Classic Tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Huskies will face the Virginia Tech Hokies and the game will be played Saturday, December 15th at 4:00pm PST at Boardwalk Hall. It will be an inaugural tournament and a chance for the Huskies to improve their resume for the NCAA Tournament by facing stiff competition.
Below is the actual video of Mike Hopkin’s Postgame Press Conference…..