Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com

Titanic effort from Fultz sinks Fullerton

Led by the 35 points of Markelle Fultz, the Washington Huskies defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans 104-88 in front of a an announced crowd of 6284 Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.

David Crisp added 17, Matisse Thybulle 15, Malik Dime 14 and Dominic Green 11 for the Huskies (1-1). 

Tre' Coggins had 20 first half points for the Titans (2-1), and he finished the game with 23. Jackson Rowe chipped in 15 for CSF while Lionheart Leslie added 15 and Austen Awosika 11. 

Coggins went off early for CSF, scoring 17 of the Titans' 22 points in the first 7:31 of the game. The Huskies then shut him down for six points the rest of the way. 

Fultz held his own, scoring nine during that same period, but it was the second half where the freshman took off. He pressured the Titans' defense early and often, shooting four free throws in the first 86 seconds of play. 

While Coggins was cooling off due to the sustained pressure from Washington contesting his shots, Dime was warming up. The Titans, down 11 at the start of the second half, tied the game at 68 with 12 minutes to play on Coggins' last points of the game. 

But the senior UW captain made four-straight free throws - part of a 10-0 Husky run that helped seal the win. Dime also led the Huskies with eight rebounds and five blocked shots. 

CSF was able to trim the game to no closer than seven points after two Leslie free throws with 4:50 to play. After that it was a Green jumper, followed by back-to-back slams by Fultz to force a Titans time out. 

It was at that point the arena started to empty. 

The only negative to a strong showing for Washington was their turnovers. They had 12 in the first half, and 17 overall. Fullerton scored 23 points off those turnovers. 

But they allowed only two offensive rebounds for CSF, compared to 21 Sunday in the loss to Yale. 

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Post-Game Videos

Lorenzo Romar

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Markelle Fultz and Dominic Green

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Quotes

Lorenzo Romar

Opening “A couple guys put on a show tonight and for the first eight minutes Tre’ Coggins for Fullerton put on a shooting display. 17 points I believe in the first eight minutes. We felt that even though he knocking those shots down they were contested. If we could contest those shots eventually we were hopefully they wouldn’t go in. Our guys did an amazing job for the remaining 32 minutes guarding him where he only had six points. He was really good and that got them going offensively. And then it’s no secret Markelle (Fultz) was terrific tonight in all areas. Just took the game over a lot of times. He has the ability to make everyone else just look a little better. He was doing that at a high level tonight. Fullerton, I want to follow their game and see what happens; they have some offensive fire power on that team.”

How much closer was this to how you want to play basketball? “Progress was made. Progress was definitely made. The level of physicality went up. Our defensive intensity went up. We didn’t allow them to get much in transition. Our guys boxed out, did a better job collectively going to the backboards. We still have a ways to go but we did see progress. We have to continue to make progress before  we start conference.”

Is there anything Markelle Fultz can’t do? “Not much. What helps Markelle is his length. You can forget about his length. At 6’4” he has a 6’10” wingspan. It allows him to just shoot over people. Then he’s very, very athletic. He has a high basketball I.Q. It’s almost like he’s computer generated. On top of that he’s a great teammate and extremely coachable. He has the whole package.”

What did you do the second half to Tre’ Coggins? “I thought his shots were contested. I don’t think he took very many shots in the second half that weren’t highly contested. I think Matisse Thybulle did a phenomenal job guarding him. That’s one of the things we’re looking for, guys to step up. We’ve always had a couple of guys on the perimeter that can go out there and just shut guys down and have a guy in the paint that’s very good at just shutting guys down. As far as us creating a defensive identity, we need defensive performances like Matisse had.”

Has there been a better start to a career that Markelle Fultz has had? “Here at Washington? Jon Brockman was all tournament team when he was a freshman, but he wasn’t doing this. I haven’t seen it. Isaiah Thomas may have been the closest but not the first couple of games. Tony Wroten was spectacular. But in terms of what Markelle Fultz has done, I think he’s averaging six assists and 32.5 points. No one’s done that. I don’t think a player has done that, not just a freshman.”

On foul frequency “If we’re playing true Husky basketball we’re going to foul. It just can’t be an astronomical number. When we’re aggressive we’re going to foul. The old Arkansas teams with Nolan Richardson as coach, they fouled. We’re going to have a couple fouls, especially the way they’re calling the game now. We’re going to foul. We want to maintain our aggressiveness.”

On limiting fouls in the second half “Yeah, we talked about - we had 11 at the half. They had scored I want to say 19 points at halftime off of turnovers. We did talk about that. Sam (Timmins) was just caught in between. Sam had five of them. That’s not typical for Sam. He was just kind of caught. He got the ball and a couple times he tried to pass - he’s such a good passer - without looking and the guy cut. Another time there was a hand there. Things like that. He’s a capable passer. You take those away, Markelle is going to turn the ball over a little bit because of how active he is. We didn’t turn it over as much with the rest of the guys.”

Markelle Fultz

When did you realize you would be able to get to the rim so easily tonight? “I think my ability to get to the rim is always open. I realized that once I made a couple threes it opened the paint up even more because they were trying to close out. I was just looking to penetrate, not always to score but just to try to find guards and my teammates.”

What was the difference between this game and the Yale game? “Effort, rebounding, I just think we were locked in on the defensive end. That last loss hurt us really bad so we came to practice locked in, talked about what we need to do to win this game. Just rebounded defensively and I think we played together as a team and played defense.”

Was there something you did in the second half to slow Tre’ Coggins down? “Just our mindset. Don’t let him score. He already had a lot of points in the first half, so we obviously knew that he could score the ball very well. He’s a great player. I think Matisse (Thybulle) did a great job whoever was guarding him at a time did a good job of making him drive and get the ball out of his hands.”

Did fouls mess with the flow of the game? “I don’t think so. That’s what happens when you play physical. That was a big thing with us. We just went through it, didn’t let the ref get to us. Fouls are going to get called, so we just try to play physical without fouling. That’s one thing we can improve on.”

How have you made this transition so effortless? “Just believe in God. Come to practice everyday just trying to get the best out of my teammates and hopefully they work me hard to get the best out of me. I just let God take care of it. Give me the opportunity and I try to take advantage of it.”

Are there times out there when you’re struggling? “On the defensive end I think sometimes I lack focus. That’s a big thing. I’m always worried about defense, just making my teammates as best as they can on both ends of the floor. I just try to lock in as long as I can while I’m on the court just on the defensive end. Not let my man go backdoor, not let my man score. There are times when I lack on defense. I slack and I know I’m doing it I get on myself and my teammates get on me and I really appreciate it.”

On big men not always being ready for his passes “It’s just going to get better and better with the season. Some passes I throw hard. They do a great job catching my passes most of the time. Everybody is going to drop a pass every once and a while. I’m not mad at them or anything. As the season goes you’re going to see more dunks by them, more catches and it’s just a thing we have to work on as a team. Just catching the ball. Everybody. Even when they kick it out sometimes we lose it. It’s just a thing that happens.”

Dominic Green

How close was this to how you want to play for 40 minutes? “Very close. We still have a little bit to work on, but this is something to build off of. We came in with energy and we were really focused. We were just able to handle business and move on to the next one.”

Is there anything about Markelle Fultz’ game that surprises you? “We just have to play around him, play with him, and I think we’re going to be good.”

Do you feel like you’re sometimes not aware of when a pass is coming from Fultz? “Not when we’re in our spots. When we’r in our spots then it’s much easier. When we’re not and you’re not focused then you’re not able to react as quickly.”

What was the key to limiting the offensive glass for Fullerton? “We were just putting a body on people and we were going after the ball. Against Yale we weren’t going after it. We weren’t pursuing it. Tonight they only had two offensive rebounds compared to the 21 (for Yale) like you just said. We were just more physical and playing like some men.”

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