At the beginning of the first half, the Huskies held South Dakota scoreless for stretches of more than 3 minutes three times in the first half. The longest was 5:55 and helped the Huskies put together a 13-2 run late in the first half.
True freshman forward Jaden McDaniels started the run with a 3 and a turnaround jumper from the baseline, part of a run of 10 consecutive points for the freshman forward. He added a floater on a drive and a 17-foot jumper to end the run and put Washington up 32-23 at the break.
Jaden’s 15 points in the first half had a lot to do with that lead, and so did the Huskies defense. They held the nation’s top 3-point shooting team to 3 of 13 (23.1’%) from behind the arc in the first half and 27.3% (9 of 33) overall.
“I thought he was more aggressive getting around the basket a little bit more than he was in terms of shooting. I thought there was good balance with that. It goes back to space. I always say sometimes you’ve got to let your artist paint. Sometimes good coaching is getting out of the way,” Washington head coach Mike Hopkins.
At the start of the second half, Washington extended the run, scoring seven straight points to start the period, building a 39-23 lead on a pass from McDaniels to true freshman forward Isaiah Stewart through traffic for a dunk on the fast break.
San Diego cut the Huskies’ lead to four multiple times midway through the second half. But Stewart slammed home his own miss to make it 58-52 with 5:23 left and Washington pulled away from there, finishing the game on a 19-3 run.
When the final horn sounded, the Huskies won the game 75-55, despite the sloppy play for most of the night and the offensive droughts.
Washington won its fourth straight by holding the nation’s best 3-point shooting team to 17.4% shooting from beyond the arc. South Dakota entered the game hitting 47.4% of its 3s and featured college basketball’s best 3-point shooter, Tyler Hagedorn.
The Coyotes hit just 4 of 23 and the Huskies held Hagedorn, who had hit 18 of 24 3-pointer’s coming in, without a 3 on five attempts. South Dakota has lost three of four.
“Defending the three-point shot is a really important thing in college basketball and it’s important for us. It’s what we stress everyday. It hasn’t been great so far, but tonight it was pretty good,” Hopkins said.
The Huskies were led by McDaniels, who had 20 points and 5 rebounds. Stewart chimed in with 16 points and 15 rebounds, as his “double double” helped solidify the win.
“I’m rebounding for my teammates and my coaches,” said Stewart who also had three blocks. “I know how important these wins are, so I’m just doing everything I can to help the team win.”
“I don’t even know my stats, honestly. I just go out there and play my hardest and shoot shots. I know I can make the shots. And I have confidence in every shot that I shoot,” Bey said.
Bey was inserted into the starting lineup tonight and had a very productive game, with getting himself going early and often.
“I was just ready for my opportunity no matter if I was coming off the bench or starting. I was just ready,” Bey said.
South Dakota was led by guard Stanley Umude, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, which helped keep the Coyotes close down the stretch.
The Huskies will need to get better production from its bench, as they were held scoreless in the first half, and only contributed 4 points the entire night.
Offensively, the Huskies lulls will have to get figured out as scoring the basketball has been a consistent issue all season long.
Even though the final score was a 20-point victory, the game was a lot closer than the scoreboard indicated, as the Huskies had to “hold on” down the stretch.
“I’m never satisfied because I know how great we can be. If we just work hard everyday, get better every practice, and play hard every game. I’m never satisfied,” Stewart said.
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