At the beginning of the first half, the Huskies started out in their 2-3 zone defense, with the hopes of keeping the Trojans out of the paint!
The energy level of the Huskies was visibly much different than the other night against the UCLA Bruins. They were playing with a sense of urgency.
Fighting for every loose ball, rebound and getting up and down the floor was what the Huskies were showing early on which was a good sign.
At the 15:29 mark of the first half, the Huskies held a 10-1 lead over the Trojans and full momentum was in their favor from the out start.
What the Huskies needed to do now was avoid the long shooting droughts that have crept up all season to stymie their offensive rhythm.
USC would answer back with a 5-0 run of their own to cut into the Huskies lead, as some silly turnovers resulted during that stretch.
Over the next few minutes, the Huskies and Trojans would trade baskets with Washington holding a 14-8 lead, with 11:39 left in the first half.
Husky forward Isaiah Stewart was making his presence felt inside the paint, as he imposed his will, getting layups.
His strength was no match on the interior for the Trojans, and all the Huskies needed to do was dump the ball inside to their star!
The Trojans went on an 8-0 run over a two-minute stretch, while the Huskies went on a three-minute scoring drought of their own.
Turnovers crept in for the Huskies as they amassed a total of 8, completely taking them out of the nice flow they had earlier in the game.
Now the Huskies were in familiar territory, with having to break out of a long scoring drought, while warding off the Trojans.
USC had settled into the game and started to seize momentum away from the Huskies, who were searching for an offensive identity once again.
Another issue for the Huskies was the offensive glass, where the Trojans were out rebounding the Huskies 7-1.
At the 7:25 mark of the first half, the Huskies held on to a 16-14 lead and the next 7 minutes were going to be extremely crucial!
The Huskies came out of the timeout with a 5-point mini-surge where the crowd erupted and forced a USC timeout.
Offensively, the Huskies started to bring it, with a mixture of slam dunks that ignited the crowd and timely shooting.
With their hard-nosed defense, they were able to hold USC to a scoring drought of their own, which helped Washington build a double-digit lead.
At the 3:23 mark, the Huskies were leading 27-19 and were in full control of the game, dictating the pace they like to play at.
All they had to do now was close the half out strong and go into the locker room with the lead. Would USC answer with a run of their own?
McDaniels got assessed a “flagrant one” foul, which was his first personal foul of the game. The Huskies needed to keep their composure!
Forward Nate Roberts came into the game and provided the Huskies with a big boost off the bench the entire half, which was nice to see.
Forward Nahziah Carter hit a clutch three-pointer before the half to stretch the Huskies lead to 33-21 at the 1:07 mark. It was time to close!
Roberts ended the half with an emphatic left-handed dunk, that sent a jolt through Alaska Airlines Arena as they headed into the locker room.
At halftime, Washington was ahead 35-21 and the crowd was appreciative of the much-improved effort from the Huskies.
It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was a more connected team effort and the players were getting after it on both ends of the floor.
Nahziah Carter led the way with 9 points and 3 rebounds for the Huskies, while Roberts chipped in with 7 points and 6 rebounds.
Surely Washington head coach Mike Hopkins was happy with the effort, but coming out after halftime with focus on execution would probably determine the final outcome.
At the start of the second half, the Huskies committed two back-to-back early turnovers, which was not the start they wanted to have.
It was evident that the Huskies emphasis was to dump the ball inside to Stewart and go inside-out to start the second half.
USC finally hit their first three-pointer of the game, as they cut the Huskies lead to 41-29, with 15:36 left in the game.
The Huskies were still pushing the ball up the floor and tried to dictate the pace they had in the first half, which helped their offense.
Getting quality looks and good possessions would be crucial, as the Huskies were trying to find a way to break the game wide open.
Defensively, the Huskies put the clamps on the Trojans, putting them on a 3:16 minute scoring drought, which helped them build their big lead.
Washington led 48-29 with 11:45 left in the game, as their defense suffocated USC. It helped fuel their transition game on offense.
The Huskies were leading the Trojans in fast break points at 14-3. Clearly getting the ball out on the break was the recipe for success.
Feeding the ball to Stewart seemed too easy, as he had his way on the interior, with the Trojans having no clear answer to slow him down.
Offensively, the Huskies went on a 7-0 run over a 3:48 stretch, where they broke the game wide open, while the Trojans struggled to score.
USC went on a 5-minute plus scoring drought, where they could not get any open looks against Hopkins vaunted 2-3 zone.
Guard Jamal Bey capped a big run by the Huskies with a slam dunk, that got Husky Nation hyped and forced a USC timeout.
At the 10:32 mark, the Huskies had built up a 23-point lead on their counterparts at 52-29, it was a complete team effort to get there.
The next few minutes, the Huskies kept the pressure on the Trojans, despite a couple baskets they made along the way.
With 7:35 left to play, the Huskies had a 57-33 lead, with no signs that they would relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
Washington was firing on all cylinders on both ends of the floor and it was nice to see them play up to their preseason hype.
At the 3:52 mark, the Huskies had a 31-point lead and the Husky faithful were heading to the exits to beat the early traffic jams.
66-35 was the score and everything now was academic, as the Huskies were trying to get to the locker room without any injuries.
When the final horn sounded, the Huskies won the game 72-40, as their Pac-12 Conference record improved to 1-1 after gaining their first win.
The Huskies were led by Isaiah Stewart, who had another double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Green chipped in 14 points and 5 assists and McDaniels finished with 11 points, 3 assists and 6 blocks.
A big factor off the bench was redshirt freshman forward Nate Roberts, who had 7 points and 7 rebounds, while bringing an energy and spark off the bench.
USC was led by freshman forward Onyeka Okongwu, who finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds on the night.
The Huskies showed how dangerous they really can be, when they play to their full potential like they did tonight!
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