Huskies Can’t Overcome Slow Start In 66-64 Defeat To The Bruins

The Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball team played their first Pac-12 Conference opener at Alaska Airlines Arena, against the UCLA Bruins.

At the beginning of the first half, the Huskies came out in their 2-3 zone defensively and looked to put pressure on the Bruins immediately.

Offensively, the Huskies wanted to attack the glass early and missed their first few shots before finally settling into the game.

Sophomore guard Quade Green hit his first three-pointer of the game, which helped the Huskies gain some early momentum!

During an early timeout at the 15:43 mark of the first half, the Huskies were tied 7-7 with the Bruins and searching for some consistency.

They were just 2 for 7 from the field and with Pac-12 Conference play now here, those scoring droughts can’t happen very often.

Over the next few minutes, the Bruins would go 3 for 3 from the field and take a 15-12 lead at the 11:59 mark of the first half.

The Huskies appeared sluggish, as they couldn’t consistently score the basketball,  with Hopkins waiting for a spark to emerge.

UCLA was able to connect on a few easy baskets, penetrating the Huskies 2-3 zone from inside of the paint, with close range shots.

Indeed, it was a slow start for the Huskies who wanted to come out and impose their will on the Bruins, but it didn’t happen that way.

True freshman forward Isaiah Stewart was the Huskies leading scorer, at 4 points and 5 rebounds halfway through the first half.

If the Huskies were going to come out of this game with a victory, they definitely needed to pick up the slack on offense!

The Bruins were able to sustain a four-point lead at the 7:47 mark of the first half, though it wasn’t pretty for them either.

Shooting wise, UCLA was at 39%, with only being able to lead the game because of the poor shooting by the Huskies.

All season long, scoring droughts have haunted the Huskies and now they had to find a way to dig themselves out of this funk.

The Bruins were able to take advantage of sloppy play by the Huskies and push their lead to 7-points at 23-16, with 5:21 left in the half.

Simply put, the Huskies couldn’t score the basketball, which allowed the Bruins to slow the game down and dictate the pace.

After a long three-pointer by the Bruins, the Huskies were facing a 10-point double digit deficit, for the first time all game.

True freshman forward Jaden McDaniels picked up his third foul of the game with 3:37 left in the first half.

All that was left now, to salvage the lackluster half for the Huskies, was to go on a run and try and cut that lead down to single digits.

McDaniels ended up picking up his fourth foul of the game from the bench, when the referees issued him a technical foul.

The Huskies went on a mini surge of their own when junior forward Nahziah Carter hit a jumper to cap a 4-0 run,xz gaining some momentum.

That would be it for the Huskies, as the Bruins closed the half on a 3-0 run to push their lead back to double digits down the stretch.

At halftime, Washington was down 34-24 and the crowd was getting antsy; that half was about the sloppiest half of basketball all season for the Huskies.

They just couldn’t get anything to flow offensively and the only saving grace was that the Bruins were not shooting well at all either.

True freshman forward Isaiah Stewart led the way with 10 points and 5 rebounds for the Huskies, while Green chipped in with 3 points and 0 assists.

Rest assured, Hopkins was in the locker room imploring his team to play with more focus and with better execution coming out for the second half!

At the start of the second half, the Huskies made a concerted effort to get the ball to Stewart and pound the ball inside.

It was a completely different Huskies team to start the second half, as they came out with a sense of urgency and fire.

Washington went on an 8-0 run to the start the half and closed the Bruins lead to 34-32, with 17:43 left in the half.

Hopkins halftime message definitely resonated among the players, as they were giving him an inspired effort.

The Bruins were forced to call a timeout and stop the momentum and surge, the Huskies had put on them!

McDaniels fouled out of the game with 16:10 left to play, which put an even bigger strain on the Huskies offense.

While the Huskies were playing much better, they still couldn’t take the lead at the 15:51 mark of the second half.

During the timeout, the Huskies still trailed 36-32, but it felt as if another surge was coming in the near future for the Dawgs.

Quade Green delivered that surge when he made a high layup off the glass and then sophomore guard Jamal Bey stole the inbounds pass and laid it up.

The Huskies took the lead 39-38, which was their first lead since the start of the game, getting into a groove a little bit.

Over the next couple of minutes, the Huskies and Bruins would trade baskets and be deadlocked at 41-41 with 11:12 left in the game.

At this point it was anybody’s game, but it felt like it was the Huskies game to lose, as they were clearly the aggressors!

While the Huskies were dictating the pace, the Bruins fought back each possession and only trailed by two points with 7:50 left.

With a 49-47 lead, the Huskies needed to execute down the stretch and find a way to close out the game with a win!

Stewart picked up his fourth personal foul, with 7:15 left in the game, on a questionable blocking call in the paint.

If the Huskies were going to seal the deal down the stretch, they were going to have to find a way to preserve his fifth foul.

The Huskies were in a “dawg fight” with the Bruins, as this looked like a game that was going down to the final possession.

At the 4:09 mark, the Huskies were trailing the Bruins 52-51, after the Bruins took the lead with an uncontested three-pointer.

The Bruins would take a 59-56 lead during the timeout, with 1:57 left in the game and it was anybody’s game at this point!

Washington would battle back to tie the game at 61-61, with 1:09 left in the game and the crowd was raucous and loud!

With 23.8 seconds left, Carter hit a go ahead three-pointer to give the Huskies a 64-63 lead and now they had to get a stop!

The Bruins answered right back with a three of their own to take a 66-64 lead, with 7.9 seconds left to play.  Huskies needed a bucket!

On the last play for the Huskies, the Bruins were able to steal the ball from a driving Carter and seal the game with an inbounds pass. The Huskies ultimately  couldn’t overcome their slow start in the first half, which forced them to spend too much energy fighting back all night long!

When the final horn sounded, the Bruins won the game 66-64, as the Huskies conference record began with an 0-1 start.

The Huskies were led by Isaiah Stewart, who had another double double with 24 points and 11 rebounds.  Carter chipped in 16 points and 4 rebounds and Green finished with 11 points and 4 assists of his own.

UCLA was led by freshman guard/forward Jake Kyman, who finished with 21 points, while making 7 three-pointers on the night.

Next up for the Huskies (10-4, 0-1) is another home game on Sunday, January 5th at 7:00 p.m. PT, against the USC Trojans at Alaska Airlines Arena.

 

WASHINGTON VS. UCLA FINAL BOX SCORE

 

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