The Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball team “officially” started their season on Halloween night in front of the scarce home crowd.
It was a good start to the season, as the Huskies were able to come away with the 87-63 victory over the Western Washington Vikings.
In the first half, the Huskies started out slow as they were feeling things out. It was their first time playing an opponent in a couple months.
Once the Huskies switched to their 2-3 zone defense after the first five minutes, the tempo and pace they like to play at improved.
Washington head coach Mike Hopkins already said that he would tinker with playing some man-to-man defense this season.
They were getting out into transition and forced the Vikings into 14 first half turnovers with their aggressive and suffocating defense.
The much awaited debut of true freshman forward Jaden McDaniels began tonight and he didn’t disappoint, with some dazzling dunks.
It was his first time playing collegiate basketball and he got to make his debut in front of his family from local Federal Way, Washington.
“Everyone! I didn’t have enough tickets but they got in somehow,” Jaden McDaniels said in regards to how much family was there tonight watching his debut.
He showed glimpses of why he will be a “tough cover” all season and a formidable duo, paired alongside freshman forward Isaiah Stewart.
Three point shooting was on full display by sophomore guard Jamal Bey, as he finished the first half going 3 for 3 from behind the arc.
“It felt good! Just constant reps and they fell tonight,” Jamal Bey said.
At the end of the first half the Huskies led the Vikings 46-23 and had solid momentum heading into the locker room.
In the second half, the Huskies had trouble defending the three-ball, as the Vikings were able to knock down 8 total.
It prompted Mike Hopkins to call a timeout so he could make some adjustments on trying to “close out” and defend it better.
“We gotta clean that up, that can’t happen anymore!” Hopkins said about giving up too many three’s.
One of the nice things about the exhibition matchup was that Hopkins was able to play multiple players to see what he has on the roster.
“I was happy about getting a lot of guys a lot of opportunities,” Hopkins said.
A huge bright spot on the night was the play of sophomore guard Jamal Bey, who looked like a completely different player off the bench.
He ran the point-guard position and knocked down 3 three-pointers, which really set the tone for the game offensively for the Huskies.
“Jamal (Bey) came in off the bench and he set the tone,” Hopkins said.
Bey led the Huskies in scoring on the night with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals.
While the Huskies showed some flashes of brilliance, there were plenty of things for them to clean up moving forward.
“I was disappointed in the second half,” Hopkins said.
In the end, the Huskies were able to break the game open in the second half and come away with the victory to jumpstart their season.
Jaden McDaniels finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, while Isaiah Stewart totaled 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Western Washington was led by forward Trevor Jasinsky who finished with 19 points and 3 rebounds on the night.
Next up for the Huskies is the Armed Forces Classic on Friday, November 8th at 6:30 p.m. PT, against the Baylor Bears in Anchorage, Alaska.
Washington vs. Western Washington Final Game Stats
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