Kim Griniolds/

Washington Huskies Win Opener 98-80 over Seattle Pacific

The Washington Huskies used a balanced scoring attack, including a game-high 21 points from Andrew Andrews, as they defeated the Seattle Pacific Falcons 98-80 Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena in their lone exhibition contest.

Noah Dickerson also added 17, Dejounte Murray with 16, Marquese Chriss 11, and 10 each for David Crisp and Dominic Green for the Huskies, who led by nine at the half 47-38.  K.J. Garrett had a chance to get the Huskies to the century mark, but missed two free throws with 8.9 seconds left. 

Even though it will never show up in the win-loss column or the season statistics, the Falcons offered up a very stiff test for the young pups, who went 10-deep for most of the game. Every newcomer got at least 10 minutes on the court to show what he could do. And while most of them scored well, they also coughed the ball up 19 times as a unit. 

“I’ll say it was tough,” Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the win. “We didn’t accomplish it. We didn’t get 10 new guys to play mistake free basketball. We weren’t able to do it tonight. We had a lot of mistakes. But I loved their effort. I loved our guys’ effort and I loved our guys’ unselfishness a lot of times. We were able to sustain our defensive effort for longer periods than I thought we would be tonight.”

The Falcons, down nine at the half, made a run to get down to five with 13:09 left after a layin from former Husky Gilles Dierickx. Washington had pushed the lead up to as high as 16 after Dickerson sparked a 9-2 run out of the gate to start the half. 

But the Huskies responded with a 9-1 run the next two minutes to extend their advantage once again. Seattle Pacific last saw single-digits with 10:48 remaining in the game, but Washington bounced back again with six unanswered during a span of 51 seconds to tear the game wide open. 

“Every time they hit us with a run we responded or we did great out of time outs,” Andrews said. “A couple times out of time outs they got us with back doors out of their time outs but for the most part I think we answered their runs.”

Washington would push their lead up to as high as 24 points after another Dickerson layin with 6:03 to go. With just under three minutes to play, Romar emptied the bench, as his new boys had done their job.

“Seattle Pacific is such a great team to play because they run their offense very efficiently. They try to be patient. They make you guard them. We got a lot of reps guarding against a very efficient offense. I thought our guys did a pretty good job overall. We gave up a lot of backdoors in the first half, something we talked about, went over. But it took us a little time to see exactly what it looks like when someone else is running it other than us. So in the second half we did a much better job of defending it. Seattle Pacific is going to win a lot of games.”

Exhibition games are by nature pretty sloppy games, and this one was no exception. Beyond the turnovers, both teams combined for a whopping 58 fouls, 31 of those coming by way of the Huskies. Freshman forward Devenir Duruisseau was the only player to foul out in the game, but five UW players finished with at least four fouls. 

“We’re probably going to commit fouls, but they can’t just be as many as they were tonight,” Romar said. “I think if we can get better at picking angles when we’re closing out on the ball handlers to keep them in front, what happens sometimes is we were reacting late; we had a bad angle so they got a step on us so we had to nudge. You’re first reaction is to protect yourself. That happened too many times. That’s something we need to continue to work on.”

The Huskies also gave up a number of opportunities on the defensive end due to backdoor cuts, but according to them that’s what they are willing to give up in order to force charges and more mayhem inside. 

“The way we defend giving up backdoors is not the issue if we have good coverage. If a guy backdoors and we’re there but he’s got a step on us, we should have help on the weak side. And that’s what we didn’t have tonight. It wasn’t the backdoors per say, it was just our bad coverage. The coverage was much better in the second half.”

Offensively, the 98 points scored is the most since the Huskies defeated California 109-77 on February 10, 2011. And they did it with balanced scoring. 

“Ideally, we would love for our teams to have five guys average double figures,” he said. “That’s what we would love, so six is even better. But there are some things we did tonight that we haven’t done in several years: almost score 100 points, get 10 steals. We forced turnovers maybe, but not just pure steals. We were in the lane and they lead to points. There were quite a few turnovers. We had 19 points off fast break points, 32 points off of their turnovers. That’s pretty good. With that you’re going to give up some easy baskets from time to time, but we like the trade off.”

Chriss, who had 40 points in a recent intersquad scrimmage - the first time anyone has scored that many in that game according to Romar - was admittedly in a bit of a funk starting out the game. He had a foul, turnover and missed dunk the first three-and-a-half minutes of the game. But then he settled down in the second half, eventually coming up with 11 points, five rebounds and two steals. 

“It was surreal just being out there and finally being able to play,” he said. “Our teammates, we worked so hard all the time, so now we get to put our work and everybody can see what we work hard at.” Top Stories