“A half is better than zero, I guess,” Washington head coach Mike Hopkins said.
In the first half, the Huskies notorious slow starts manifested itself again as they couldn’t score the basketball and finished with only 19 points.
The Huskies finished the first half with going 0 for 11 from behind the arc and searching for any kind of spark heading into halftime.
“They played tougher than us, which is the worst thing you can say as a coach,” Hopkins said. “It’s the worst thing you can say is that a team played harder and tougher than you and for the first half they did.”
At the halftime break, the Huskies found themselves down 22-19 and in desperate need of some energy and intensity.
“We just came out flat,” Hopkins said. “I don’t know what it was. I started making some early substitutions. I was trying to find some energy. I needed to see energy. We started off and lacked a little bit of focus.”
In the second half, the Huskies were a completely different team, as they forced the issue and played with a sense of urgency right from the start.
“Halftime allowed us to take a step back, take a breather and realize that we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing,” said senior guard Matisse Thybulle, who finished with 12 points. “So we came out not messing around. We were ready to go.”
The Huskies were able to go on a 16-2 run over a 5 minute stretch, which allowed them to gain some separation from the Hornets.
One player who really shined for the Huskies off the bench was sophomore forward Nahziah Carter. His energy and athleticism off the bench gave the Huskies a tremendous boost in the second half.
Carter finished the night with 11 points and 6 rebounds, but without his timely baskets and production, the Huskies would have been clawing back all night.
“Sometimes when we play against mid-majors, we come out flat,” Carter said. “But we’ve got to understand that most teams are good. … We’ve still got to come out with that fire like we’re down 15.”
Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell had a tough night shooting, going 2 for 7 from the field and finishing with only 4 points.
Two Husky players led the team in scoring. Senior forward Noah Dickerson finished with 12 points, while battling through foul trouble all night and
Senior guard Matisse Thybulle, finished with 12 points and 4 rebounds, setting the tone with his fantastic play defensively.
Washington head coach Mike Hopkins must press all the right buttons at halftime, to get things turned around in second halves this season.
“ I told these guys, you have to respect the game,” he said. “You have to go out and play like it’s your last game every time. If you don’t, you can lose to anybody. You can’t look at the record. You can’t look at the school. You can’t look at the conference.
“That’s just the way college basketball is. You see that every night. Big leagues, small leagues, there’s upsets and that’s why they play the game. For us to reach our potential we need that focus for 40 minutes.” Hopkins said afterwards.
The Huskies (8-4), have a long break and then return to the court for a home game at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies will face the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Tuesday, January 1st at 7:00pm PST. It will be a chance for the Huskies to close out their non-conference slate with a victory before they head into Pac-12 Conference play.
Below is the actual video of Mike Hopkin’s Postgame Press Conference…..