Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com

Beach’s Bits: It's a Dog eat Dawg world

With all the buzz surrounding heralded freshman Markelle Fultz, Washington’s 2016-2017 debut definitely didn’t go as planned as the Huskies started flat and never recovered.

The Huskies super frosh, who was named to both the Naismith and Bob Cousy preseason watch lists, lit up the scoreboard in the loss, with 30 points on 11-17 shooting. He also grabbed seven boards and dished six assists.

“He did a nice job. A very nice job,” said UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar.

Fultz saved his best to salvage the game as the final minutes ticked away, scoring seven points in the last 76 seconds.

It was too little, too late as Yale had an answer for every Washington bucket to close the game.

With the exception of a big game out of Matisse Thybulle, who was the Huskies other bright spot, shooting an efficient 6-7 from the floor en route to a 20-point, six-block effort, there weren’t many positives for Romar to point to in the loss.

“Matisse Thybulle played a heck of a defensive game,” he said about the sophomore from Redmond. “It was his best game as a Husky.”

But that was it in terms of silver linings and he made no excuses about his team’s disappointing performance either, singling out one area in particular as a significant red flag.

“We point no further than the backboards,” he said. “We had some defensive breakdowns, but the rebounding tells the story. We could not come up with the basketball. We want to hold teams to less than nine offensive rebounds. It would be a different game if that happened. We only had four offensive rebounds.

“That’s not Husky Basketball.”

Despite a stellar rebounding effort against Western Washington in their exhibition win, the Huskies were soundly out-rebounded by the opportunistic Bulldogs 42-29.

The Dawgs had no answer for Yale’s senior forward Sam Downey, who scored at will against Washington’s post defenders.

Facing a Yale team that beat Baylor in the NCAA Tournament last season, the Huskies knew they were in for a competitive game. This wasn’t the same Yale squad that upset their way into the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, however.

The Bulldogs didn’t dress one player who averaged 20 minutes a game after losing four of last season’s top returning scorers to graduation and playing without leading scorer Makai Mason, who was injured.

It certainly wasn’t a Yale squad built to cruise to victory over a Pac-12 squad picked to finish in the upper half of the conference.

Thybulle summed up the loss: “Lack of effort. Lack of heart. They hit us first and we just stopped.”

The warts shown in the Dawgs narrow exhibition victory were further exposed by the Bulldogs, who victimized the Huskies with excellent shooting and precise execution of their offense. Like the exhibition against WWU, the Huskies defense was nowhere to be found, as Yale methodically picked them apart.

“It hurts because we practice hard,” said Thybulle. “To come out in the first game and not show what we’ve worked on was disappointing.”

It wasn’t one specific area either.

On the perimeter, the Huskies let their smaller foes bomb away at will as the Bulldogs shot a solid 46.5 percent for the game.

And when they weren’t connecting from outside, the Bulldog shot-fakes had Washington defenders jumping out of their shoes. True, the Huskies racked up a record tying 15 blocked shots, but even that was a smoke screen as the Dawgs gave up a whopping 21 offensive rebounds that resulted in 19 second chance points for Yale.

Statistically speaking the Huskies shot a superb 59 percent which would normally result in victory under normal circumstances. Yet a deeper dive shows the Huskies attempted 15 fewer field goals than the Bulldogs who dominated the offensive glass.

Yale made the Huskies pay for their negligence on the glass. It was a painful lesson for a young team, and hopefully, something the Dawgs can recover and learn from.

Despite the rough start, Fultz remained optimistic. “I just think it was lack of focus at times,” he said. “They made good plays. Just mental stuff we can work on.”

The Huskies will get their chance to get things pointed the right direction at home on Thursday against Cal State Fullerton at 8 pm.


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