The Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball team played another game at Alaska Airlines Arena to mark the second contest of a seven game home stand against the Montana Grizzlies.
From the opening possession, the Huskies came out to a hot start for once, as true freshman Jaden McDaniels hit his first jump shot of the game.
The Huskies would hit a few more shots during early possessions and found themselves leading 9-0 and bringing the constant energy.
After the 9-0 run by Washington, the Grizzlies settled in and went on a 7-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 9-7, with 15:59 left in the first half.
Defensively, the Huskies came out in a man-to-man, like they had started most games all season, with the hopes of getting after it aggressively.
A flagrant foul was called on true freshman Isaiah Stewart before the timeout, which was his second personal foul of the game.
Once the Huskies took the floor again, they switched to their 2-3 zone defense, letting them settle down and get out in transition.
Just like the other night, once they made the switch, they were able to gain a lead and force the Grizzlies into some tough shots.
The Huskies were plagued early with foul trouble as their two true freshman stars in McDaniels and Stewart were both sent to the bench with 2 fouls each.
At the 11:49 mark, the Huskies were leading 17-10 and looking to go on a run like they did when they started the game, with the 9-0 run.
There was a lull for about 5:00 minutes where the Huskies were trying to find their way offensively, but they would eventually get back on track.
Down the stretch in the first half, some of the struggles that have plagued the Huskies this season showed up with their inability to score the basketball.
Stewart picked up his third foul of the game on a questionable rebound, which sent him back to the bench and the Huskies offense to go stagnant.
Without their force inside the paint in Stewart, the Huskies couldn’t find their rhythm offensively and were grinding out each possession.
At the 9:02 mark, the Huskies were leading 22-13 but hadn’t made a three pointer all night long. Silly turnovers started to manifest themselves as well.
The Huskies would play good defense and then commit a bad turnover, to completely reverse any momentum that they built.
Hopkins called a timeout at the 4:23 mark, as he was not happy with the sloppy play and the lack of scoring the basketball.
Senior forward Sam Timmins was the Huskies leading scorer with 6 points, as the Huskies were ice cold for an extended drought.
On defense, the Huskies gave up too many three’s, allowing the Grizzlies to claw their way back into the game, only being down 28-26 with 2:31 left.
That energy the Huskies started with was gone, as momentum turned into frustration and the Huskies were just trying to make it through the half.
Montana’s scrappiness seemed to bother the Huskies as they wouldn’t go away and did just enough to make a game out of it at halftime.
The Huskies went into the locker room leading 31-29, after sophomore guard Jamal Bey made a driving layup as time expired.
Washington head coach Mike Hopkins surely wasn’t happy and noticeably frustrated with his team’s play in the final minutes of the first half.
At the half, Timmins was still the Huskies leading scorer with 6 points and the entire team didn’t make a three-pointer all half.
When the second half started, the Huskies started out cold on their first few possessions until sophomore point guard Quade Green got hot.
He took what the defense gave him and knocked down a couple shots that helped settle the Huskies down and push the lead to 36-32, with 16:05 left in the game.
What really hurt the Huskies was Stewart picking up his fourth foul of the game, which sent him back to bench for the third time on the night.
Stewart’s foul trouble really hurt the rhythm and flow of the Huskies offensively, as their “safety valve” in the paint was not able to contribute.
With 15 minutes to play, the Huskies had already amassed 14 turnovers on the night, which kept the Grizzlies within striking distance.
A nice spin layup by junior forward Nahziah Carter, and a nice “and-one” by McDaniels help the Huskies gain a spark and push the lead to 41-36, at the 14:09 mark.
The officiating crew was a questionable subject throughout the game. At the 12:50 mark, there were 38 total foul calls on the entire night.
The Huskies couldn’t really gain separation from the Grizzlies with the way the officials were calling the game, combined with the abysmal shooting.
Just when the Huskies looked out of it offensively, Carter took it upon himself to bring the energy and bail the team out with some scoring.
He hit some big time layups that kept the Huskies afloat and gave them an option on offense, with clearing things out for him.
Stewart checked back into the game with about 8:00 minutes left to play, as Timmins went to the bench.
Timmins gave the Huskies a tremendous boost in the absence of Stewart and brought the force and energy all night.
At the 7:54 mark, the Huskies were leading 53-43 and looking to put the game out of reach once and for all!
Carter had a nice steal but got called for a foul and Washington head coach Mike Hopkins blew a gasket and had to be restrained.
Down the stretch, Stewart hit some big free throws that helped the Huskies keep separation from the Grizzlies. They led 60-46 with 5:54 left in the game.
The Huskies got after it defensively as they started to turn the Grizzlies over, which led to more offensive possessions and time off the clock.
In the end, the Huskies overcame their shooting lulls and also the referees, en route to a 73-56 victory over Montana, to improve to 4-1 on the season.
On the night, the referees called a total of 51 fouls, disrupting, the flow and rhythm of the game. The Huskies were called for 33 fouls while the Grizzlies were dinged for 18.
The Huskies were led by Isaiah Stewart, who had 18 points and 2 rebounds, despite being in foul trouble for most of the game.
Montana was led by guard Kendal Manuel, who finished with 15 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds, which helped keep the Grizzlies in the game.
Next up for the Huskies is the another home game on Sunday, November 24th at 7:30 p.m. PT, against the San Diego Toreros at Alaska Airlines Arena.
WASHINGTON VS. MONTANA FINAL BOX SCORE
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