Luke Mounger/

Hoop Dawgs chop down Lumberjacks

The Washington Huskies scored 23-straight points in the second half as they rolled over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 92-58 Sunday evening at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Freshman Markelle Fultz led the Huskies (2-1) in scoring with 16 points. He added seven rebounds and eight assists. 

Matisse Thybulle added 15 points for UW, followed by 12 for Noah Dickerson, 11 for Carlos Johnson, and 10 for David Crisp.

Felix Rivera-Vega paced the Lumberjacks (1-4) with 11 points. Ako Kaluna was the only other NAU player in double-digits with 10. 

This game was never really in doubt, as the Huskies controlled the opening tip, scored the first five points of the game, and never really looked back. The entire game was tied for only 90 seconds: the rest of the time Washington was in charge. 

Up 49-34 with 13:18 remaining in the game, UW scored 23-straight, highlighted by two NAU timeouts to try and stem the tide, but to no use. 

It all started with an innocuous Matthew Atewe made shot, but then Thybulle chipped in with six-straight points, then Dickerson added a layin, Fultz a three-pointer and Thybulle a tip-in jam off a Fultz miss. 

Defensively, Washington started denying the Lumberjacks' big men, forcing them into 1-1 situations where they couldn't cope with the Huskies' athleticism.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar called off the Dawgs with 7:33 left after a Johnson baseline slam dunk. Romar pulled his last starter, David Crisp, with 4:32 to play up 36.

The Huskies dominated in all phases. They wanted to exploit their size advantage down low, eventually outscoring NAU 50-24 in the paint. Washington had only 12 turnovers, and they outscored the Lumberjacks off their 16 miscues 25-12. 

Washington also outscored NAU in second chance points (19-15), didn't allow the Lumberjacks a single fast break point (8-0), and also outscored them from the bench (39-21).

A notable aspect to the game was the absence of whistles. There were a total of 50 and 54 fouls called, respectively, in Washington's first two games. Sunday there were a total of 36. It allowed the game to flow, especially early in the contest.  



Lorenzo Romar

Opening “Tonights game we thought we had a size advantage and wanted to go inside and I thought our guys did a marvelous job of taking that to heart. We scored 50 in the paint to their 25. The guys did a nice job around there. If we’re going to break it into four-minute segments throughout the game, I thought there were two four-minute segments in that game where we relaxed defensively. Aside from that I thought we did a really good job of getting up just trying to contest their passes and contest their shots. Still trying to improve on the defensive end.”

On the 23-point run “They were catching the ball - certain players were catching the ball wherever they wanted to catch it. Part of the scout was not to allow that to happen in certain positions. During that stretch our bigs did a nice job of stepping up the pressure, not letting their bigs catch, so they could run what they wanted to run. That makes all the difference in the world in us defending what they were doing.”

How much have you improved since Yale? “We’ve improved. To put a number on it, I don’t know. But we’ve improved. There is more of a sense urgency out there. That means our team is going to be better defensively. There is more of an awareness. There’s more of a want to. There’s more pride. Still, we have a long ways to go. But we have definitely made improvement.”

Are you better suited with Markelle Fultz taking 20 shots a game? “Well, you think how that would have made a difference tonight. And that goes back to, I’ve said it back to with Brandon Roy. ‘Brandon’s going to be a really good player this year.’ Well he only scored 17. He didn’t need to. Markelle (Fultz) told me after the game as we were talking about how he did and all, he said ‘yeah, I just felt coach the way were going I didn’t need to score a whole lot. I was just looking to see my guys up because of the way they were playing.’ That’s the beauty of Markelle Fultz. He plays the game the right way. He’s not out there trying to break records when he’s out there playing or make sure that he solidifies his draft status. There’s no stress with him in that regard. He’s just out there playing, trying to make us be the best we can be. He’s perfectly fine going out there not getting 30 points.”

Do you think Markelle Fultz will have a triple-double before he leaves? “If I were a betting man I would bet you a pack of red vines that he will. I think he will.”

On the bigs putting the ball on the floor too much and how the bigs played “We’re happy with them. Sam (Timmins) in particular, we’d like for them to make their move now. There’s stuff going around them when they get the basketball, but we have to be able to read it and make our move right now as opposed to waiting so long. Other teams are going to collapse down on there and we won’t even be able to get the shot off. We could get better in that regard.” I’m just glad we were able to throw it down there and have that mindset and get touches.”

Where is Markelle Fultz at defensively compared to other freshmen? “There are certain actions we were guarding against in the scout. What we like to do on the scout sometimes, the first time, is not let you know what’s going on. Rely on the principles. Rely on our defensive principles. Then after that we break it down and talk about t’okay, this is how we we actually want to guard this.’ Before you say this is how we want to guard it his instincts are just tremendous. He’s so quick and so long, he gets through, it’s hard to screen him, he gets through little cracks. he has really good defensive instincts. He still has to learn floor position and how to be engaged the entire time that he’s on defense. He can be one of those guys that could be a one man disruptive force when he’s on defense because he’s so quick, he’s so smart, he anticipates so well, and he’s so long.”

Is that what you anticipated you would get from Carlos Johnson? “On the offensive end, yes. On the offensive end Carlos (Johnson) has the ability to do what he did. I’m not saying whenever he plays he’s going to go five for five, but he’s strong. He’s strong around the basket. He gets up really quickly. He’s a good offensive player.”

Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulle

Noah Dickerson 

Was this game indicative of how you would like to play defense? “No. It’s the same defense we played last year. We have a couple new guys and we’re trying to bring it all together. We want to play defense like we played int the past years. I think tonight we’ve shown progress on getting back to the level we were at last year.”

Did the lack of fouls getting called feel different? “I loved it. A lot different. Me personally, I don’t like stopping at the 11-minute mark with people in the double-bonus. I would rather them let us play. They did and I feel like it’s better that way and lets a team really shows what people have and things like that. I liked it.”

What keyed the big run you had in the second half? “We started denying the big men when they came up to try to run the high low and reverse the ball Once we started to do that they didn’t run any offense. They were basically one-on-one or a ball screen and that plays to us. Just keep the man in front of us, rebound the ball, and we’re off to the races.”

Was 50 points in the paint your goal? “It’s easier, it actually opens the three ball up more if you can get your big man involved. People start to help and things like that. That’s when you get open threes and those are the easy ones to make fall. We didn’t really have a mark; we just said lets go inside. For the big men or even just for the guards driving to the basket. It just opens up lanes.”

On everybody playing today “That’s what we’re aiming for every game, to make sure everybody plays. Because I know everybody loves to watch Greg (Bowman), Quin (Barnard), Dan (Kingma), all those guys come in and do their thing they’ve been doing in practice.”

How much have you improved since playing Yale? “I think we’ve improved a lot on defense. I think we didn’t make our priority and we weren’t focused and we didn’t make it a priority. We just thought we would come out there and just win like we were better than them and just come out and win. Then we realized quickly that we can’t do that and we made an emphasis to get better on defense and rebounding and I think that’s what it shows. They had 14 offensive rebounds and that was 14 too many. We have to go back and focus on that. But defense wise I think we’ve improved a lot more becoming more of our identity.”

Matisse Thybulle

Did the lack of fouls getting called feel different? “I think that we also played - we’re learning to play more to the refs. We can get away with fouls in practice. We’re learning what we can get away with with the refs. We’re starting to play more to what they’re calling.”

Are you noticing attention being paid to Markelle Fultz and opening things up for you a little more? “Oh yeah. When you have Markelle pushing the ball down the court I don’t think there’s anyone in the gym who’s not focused on him. To have that - and I think it’ s not just me but everyone on the team - to have  a weapon like that coming down and if everyone else is in position he’s a good enough player to find you. I think that it just makes it a lot more - it gets people a lot more chances to be aggressive offensively because it puts the defense in a rotation situation they don’t want to be in.”

Is that what you expect from Carlos Johnson? “Oh yeah. Carlos (Johnson), he’s a bruiser. He’s not scared of anyone. He’s going to put his head down and take it to the hoop and you better watch out because there’s a good chance you’re going to get dunked on. Carlos has been proving himself more and more in practice that he’s ready to get out there and play. He showed a little bit today that he can get out there and hang with just about anyone. I’m excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for him.”

On Markelle setting people up tonight “We made a point at the beginning of this game to try to play inside out and just get more touches with our big guys because we had been starting to fall in love with the three and getting to comfortable with coign down and just settling. I think with that, Markelle was just, instead of looking to find his, he was trying to set up our bigs and just other people.”

On everybody playing tonight “I think just for those guys to have a chance is big because they have a pretty thanks job where they have to show up to practice everyday and help guard us and do every drill and most times they don’t get to sub out and a lot of times no one gets to see what they are really capable of. So when we have games like this where they can step out and show people what they can do it’s nice.”

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