Huskies Outlast Long Beach State

Dejounte Murray scored 30 as the Washington Huskies were able to overcome a poor defensive start to defeat the Long Beach State 49ers in the first round of the NIT Tuesday at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Marquese Chriss added 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Huskies (19-14) rallied after a sluggish start and trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half. Andrews finished with 25 points, including eight-straight free throws in the final 37 seconds.


Murray was the catalyst for the comeback helping carry Washington offensively for a long stretch of the second half with Andrews on the bench with four fouls. Murray made 10 of 16 shots while Chriss was 11 of 17 from the field. The trio of Murray, Chriss and Andrews combined for 82 of the 107 points.


Nick Faust led Long Beach State (20-15) with 26 points and Justin Bibbins added 17, but was held to just four points in the second half.

This is the only the second time a Romar-based Washington team has played in a game where both teams scored 100 points, the other being the 102-100 loss in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament to UAB. 

The Huskies struggled mightily bringing the requisite energy and effort required to play in a post-season tournament as the 49ers raced out to a 14-point lead with 4:18 left in the first half.

“I thought we were patient," Long Beach State Head Coach Dan Monson said post-game about the 49ers early success. "We played for each other. They’re a pressure team and you have to be able to hand the pressure. And you can’t catch everything going out towards the half court line; you have to make them pay for that pressure and attack the basket. I thought we did that all game until the last three minutes. We got a little bit tentative and made a couple mistakes. We put way too much pressure on our offense to have to score every time.”

A Justin Bibbins layup gave Long Beach State a 47-33 lead at that juncture.

"Early I just didn’t think our effort was there," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I thought we had a poor effort. Once our effort was at a proper level, things began to change.”

Less than two minutes later, the Washington bench was assessed a technical foul from the official across the floor - but that seemed to catalyze the Huskies. 

"We were looking for a combination of five guys that were going to play wide-eyed – five guys that were going to be down in a stance, ready, playing with energy," added Romar. "I think we finally had a combination of guys doing that.”

Long Beach State made four-straight free throws, but Chriss came right back with a jumper and Dominic Green added a three. Then, with eight seconds remaining, Andrews buried a three and was fouled. He hit the resulting free throw, and almost inexplicably the Huskies were only down five points at the half, 51-46. 

The second half was as see-saw affair, with the lead changing hands a number of times down the stretch. Andrews helped Washington cut the lead to two points with 12:57 to play, but then was subbed out. 

Then it was the Murray and Chriss Show. They scored 14 of Washington's next 18 points with Andrews on the bench. When he came back in the game with 6:22 remaining, the Huskies were up two, 86-84. 

“Marquese Chriss has really improved," Monson said. "I was just impressed watching film of it because we watched a ton of his games in AAU because Noah Blackwell, our freshman guard, and he were on the same AAU team out of Sacramento. We were very well aware of his ability, but he’s had a great year. (Dejounte) Murray, he’s everything he’s billed up to be. They have a bright future. They freshman are very good. And then you put such a solid player like (Andrew) Andrews in there to kind of steer them in the right direction. They’re capable of winning this tournament.

The 49ers would not go away quietly. They briefly held a four-point lead after a Travis Hammonds three-point shot with 4:41 to play, and even as late as 37 seconds left Bibbins went the length of the floor for an uncontested layin to give Long Beach State a 100-98 lead. But then he immediately fouled Andrews, who regained the lead for UW with two made free throws. 

Bibbins fell down on the 49ers next possession, forcing Long Beach State to foul again. Washington got the ball in Andrews' hands, albeit with the help of a review after it looked like the ball had initially gone out of bounds after touching Andrews, and he cooly sank two more from the stripe with 21 seconds to play. 

Faust missed a three-point shot from next to the Long Beach State bench. Murray recovered the rebound and quickly gave the ball to Andrews, who was fouled again. Andrews made the two free throws to give Washington a 105-100 advantage. 

“We got stops down the stretch and made shots, made free throws," Romar said. "Down the stretch took care of the ball. Just those things.”

Bibbins went coast-to-coast again for a layin, but the Huskies weren't going to foul him. They quickly got the ball back in Andrews' hands, and he was fouled with 2.7 seconds left. Again, nothing but net for the senior, and that was the ball game. 

“I don’t know if anybody watched them against Hawaii in their conference tournament championship, but one thing down the stretch goes differently Long Beach State is playing in the NCAA tournament," said Romar. "That is an NCAA tournament caliber team. We’ve played Long Beach (State) a couple of times over the years and it seems to always be a tight game when we play against them. They do a good job. Our guys, after we came out pretty sluggish, I thought realized that if we didn’t get going we were going to be going home for the summer; we weren’t going to be playing. Give our guys a lot of credit. They just came in and started really playing hard, playing with more energy. Once our energy level got up the game was changed.”

“We did a lot of good things offensively, but we never got control of the game on the defensive end," added Monson. "And they were just too athletic for us at the end of the day on the bounce and on the boards, and that was telling of the story. We hung in there but we really lost control at the end of the first half. They kind of fueled their fire. We were kind of on our heels a little bit after that on that end of the floor. Offensively, I think we did what we want to do. You score 102 points, you should be able to win some games. It’s embarrassing when you don’t.”

The San Diego State Aztecs defeated IPFW 79-55, so the Huskies will now play their NIT second-round game in San Diego. The game will be played Monday, but the exact time hasn't been announced as of when this story was published. We'll have more information on that next game when it becomes available. 



UW Huskies

Long Beach State Head Coach Dan Monson

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