Dejounte ‘Baby Boy’ Murray scored 15 first-half points en route to a career-high 22 points, while Andrew Andrews added 16, Marquese Chriss 15, David Crisp 14 and Noah Dickerson 13 points for the Huskies (3-0).
“In 2005 we had these types of options,” Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. “In 2004 we had these types of options. And, like I said, in 2011 we had these types of options. We had explosive personnel that were capable of doing those things. We won the league in 2009 and we went to the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 but we didn’t have the versatility offensively with those groups.”
Former Lake Washington star Darien Nelson-Henry had 13 points for Pennsylvania (3-1), and Matt Howard added 10.
Inconceivable as it may sound, the Huskies almost matched their 17-0 start they had Thursday against Mount St. Mary’s, but were only able to muster a 16-point effort. The Quakers called time out after an and-1 by Murray with 16:20 remaining in the first half, and from that moment on UW put full-court pressure on after any made basket. Pennsylvania didn’t turn the ball over that much but couldn’t convert hardly anything from three-point range. They were 3-16 in the first half and 6-28 overall from downtown after the game was well out of reach.
“We just play every game in practice getting prepared to play that team like that’s the championship game,” Murray said. “We just take it one game at a time. We just play together and stick together no matter what.”
“The way to get up big is you just have to know what the team does and what you need to do to get them out of playing that way,” added Dickerson, who also added seven rebounds and three blocks to his 13 points. “That’s why we get up to such a big lead at the beginning. We just know what they do and get them out of it.”
Washington continued the defensive intensity in the second half, but added steals to their game. In the first half they only had one, but added six more in the second half leading to 20 points off turnovers.
“We’re so long and athletic when we do help and we do have to get out to shooters, our hands are so high it really does disrupt shooters,” Dickerson said. “I think we’re a pretty good defensive team, a really good defensive team.”
The Huskies dominated all statistic categories, including fouls. They had 34 versus Texas and 29 Saturday against the Quakers. Malik Dime and Devenir Duruisseau both fouled out of a game that got a little testy at times. Penn’s Mike Auger picked up a technical foul after Marquese Chriss took him down to the ground, and the both UW’s Andrews and Penn’s Darnell Foreman each received technicals after Chriss once again went for a loose ball and got tangled up with Auger.
But when it came time to play, Washington tried to pressure as much as possible, and also came up with 50 rebounds - the third game in a row where UW has come up with at least 50 or more boards.
After being down 54-30 at the half, Penn’s Howard was able to cut Washington’s lead to 21 after a made three with 18:25 left, but that’s the closest the Quakers would come. Murray, Andrews, and Crisp immediately responded and pushed the Huskies’ lead to 29 within three minutes of that Howard make.
UW jumped out to their largest lead - 42 points - with six minutes left after two Andrews free throws.
One statistic the Huskies were able to turn around was the assist-turnover ratio. Washington had 18 assists on the day with only 11 turnovers - including only three in the second half.
Murray was aggressive attacking the paint, which seems to be his forte, but he added made jumpers to his repertoire against the Quakers. After going 0-7 from three in his first two games, Baby Boy hit two of four in the first half and three of six in the game. He also had five of Washington’s 11 turnovers, but squared that with four assists.
Baby Boy was one of four true freshmen in double-figures; in all the 2015 recruiting class came up with 75 of Washington’s 104 points. When Romar cleared the bench with over four minutes left, walk-on forward Greg Bowman was the one that put the Huskies in triple-digits and finished the game with a career-high eight points.
“There are no parallels with the ‘Fab Five’,” Romar said when asked about his group of electric freshmen. “That was a unique group. We are not the ‘Fab Five.’ Moving along, there’s something about the excitement of youth. These guys aren’t cool. They don’t go out and play ‘I don’t want to play too hard because people are watching.’ There is an excitement about this group that they feel like that is cool to play hard. That’s how we’re cool. Not every freshman group is like that. I think this is a very unique group of kids that we were able to see from the summer, from day one. We were able to see when those guys took their visits just their interaction with each other and the whole thing. I would say their youth might be the only parallel.”
Defensively, it’s the second-straight game where the Huskies held their opponent to exactly 67 points. Pennsylvania shot 33 percent from the field, which is just not going to be good enough against the Huskies and their 51 percent shooting - including 40 percent from three.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team and how we went out and played and approached the game,” Romar said. “We played against Boston College a few years ago when (current Pennsylvania Head Coach) Steve Donahue was the coach and they just sliced us up with the offense that they run and he doesn’t have the personnel right now that he did at Boston College but at the same time we’ve played against that offense before and it’s problematic. I thought our guys were nails in defending it the entire game. We played together. We played with energy. You get guys diving on the floor with two minutes to go in the game. That’s special. I was very proud with our effort today.”