Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com

Huskies lose heartbreaker to Nevada

The Nevada Wolf Pack, led by the 32 points of Marcus Marshall, defeated the Washington Huskies on a last-second shot 87-85 Sunday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.

With the game tied after two Markelle Fultz free throws, Marshall threw up a right-handed leaner going left that found nothing but net with .2 to play. 

A desperation heave by UW's David Crisp from half-court found iron, but couldn't go down. 

"We tell our team if you don’t take care of business early then you put yourself in a position for the official to make a call, for someone to throw up a shot at the buzzer that you didn’t think they could make," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. "We put ourselves in that position."

Fultz and Crisp led Washington (4-5) in scoring with 21 points apiece. Carlos Johnson added 13 and Matisse Thybulle 12 for UW. 

Besides Marshall's 32, Nevada (8-2) was paced by the 20 points of Seattle native D.J. Fenner. Cameron Oliver scored 18 and Jordan Caroline 12 for the Wolf Pack. 

The Huskies have now lost four-straight games, and have three more non-conference games in Seattle before they start conference play January 1 versus Washington State at Alaska Airlines Arena. 

The disappointing end to the game wiped out a UW comeback that saw them down by as many as 11 points with 12 minutes to play in regulation. After a Fenner make with 10:54 left, Crisp went on a run, burying four three-pointers in a row, the final one coming with 7:19 to play, bringing the Huskies back to a 74-73 deficit. 

"I know to help the team I have to do something with energy, defense, offense, whatever that may be," said Crisp. "So second half I picked it up and that happened to be scoring, heating up. I got going and I just felt I couldn’t miss.

“My swag comes on. I start getting active whatever that is, defense, offense.”

Nevada would not shrink to Washington's challenge. Fenner hit a jumper, then Marshall nailed a three-pointer in front of the Wolf Pack bench. The Huskies wouldn't go away, and Crisp tied the game at 83 with a layin with 2:07 to go. 

Marshall put Nevada on his back in the closing minutes, scoring 7 of the Wolf Pack's 11 final points. He hit a jumper with 75 seconds left to give Nevada the lead again, and then hit the game winner with less than a second to play. 

Romar promised a different-looking Huskies team Sunday, and they definitely looked different schematically. They played a lot of 2-3 zone mixed in with their normal man-to-man defense.

“We had gone eight-straight games and what we were doing wasn’t going too well," Romar said of UW's defense. "We had played zone, but we adjusted our zone a little bit. That’s where we went.”

"I think it helps us disrupt people," added Fultz. "They see the paint clogged up so they might have to shot over a contested hand. I think it’s a good fit for us, along with our man, so just to switch it up a bit.”

While it produced some stops, Nevada pounced on the opportunity for offensive rebounds in the extended zone. 

Nevada's Jordan Caroline had five offensive rebounds on his own, as the Wolf Pack came up with a combined 14 offensive boards in the first half. Those rebounds led to a 15-2 advantage in second-chance points for Nevada.

"We couldn’t even find (Caroline)," added Crisp. "Nobody made contact with him before he got offensive rebounds. Once we made that a point of emphasis everybody looked to box out and we were more hungry the second half.

"Our inability to get a stop by not rebounding the ball in the first half hurt us," Romar said. "If we would have got the rebound we we got a stop we would have held them to about 27 percent shooting. But we didn’t get the rebound so they ended shooting 41 percent in the first half.”

The Wolf Pack also benefited from an aggressive group of Huskies. UW were whistled 25 times in the game, leading to 29 Nevada free throws. They out-scored the Huskies 22-11 at the charity stripe. In a game decided by a contested jumper, those foul shots proved costly.   

Washington has finals this coming week, so their next game will be at Alaska Airlines Arena Sunday versus Western Michigan. Then they host Cal Poly on Tuesday the 20th and then go to cross-town rivals Seattle University that Thursday before league play begins. 

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VIDEOS

Markelle Fultz and David Crisp

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Markelle Fultz

What were you trying to do the last defensive possession? “Just guard him the best that we can. I think we did a great job at it. He just made a great shot. He’s a good player. We played good defense. He just made a tough shot.”

Are there trends about the rough stretch for the team? “Not really. There’s just the little things that we can work on. We’re a young team. We’re still staying positive. We have a long season ahead of us. We’ll just work on things at practice. I believe that we still have a great team and we can do great things.

What positives came out of this game? “Every game you learn something win or loss. You always have something to work on, even if we were winning or whatever is happening we still have to work on something. Just coming out of this game we knew we did some good things and there is some stuff that we’ve got to work on. So just going into practice - the next practice we’re just going to work and keep our mindset positive and be ready for the next game.”

On the zone they implemented “I think so. I think it helps us disrupt people. They see the paint clogged up so they might have to shot over a contested hand. I think it’s a good fit for us, along with our man, so just to switch it up a bit.”

On Carlos Johnson “He’s a tough player. He plays hard every time he steps on the floor. He’s physical. He plays like a big man. And he also gives a little energy going to the rim and trying to dunk. Everything he does on both ends of the floor just gives us a little more life. He’s a great player.”

On turnovers “It’s just communication. Sometimes a pass might be a little too hard or maybe you try to catch with one hand. It’s going to happen at times. You just have to work on each and every day just catching the ball with two hands and us making a good pass. We just have to communicate within each other to make good passes and to catch with two hands.”

David Crisp

Did you think your last shot would go in? “Yeah. I thought it was.”

On being in the zone in the second half “First half I want really aggressive and stuff. I know to help the team I have to do something with energy, defense, offense, whatever that may be. So second half I picked it up and that happened to be scoring, heating up. I got going and I just felt I couldn’t miss.”

What was the adjustment at halftime? “We were just getting pumped. We were getting out rebounded and you’re not going to win any games if you aren’t rebounding. We have teams offensive rebounding on you every possession. He just told us to fight. We have to play hungry.”

On allowing a lot of offensive rebounds early and limiting them in the second half “A lot of it was we didn’t even - the kid (Jordan) Caroline - we couldn’t even find him. Nobody made contact with him before he got offensive rebounds. Once we made that a point of emphasis everybody looked to box out and we were more hungry the second half.”

How do you deal with a loss like this? “We look at the positives and the things we did well. Obviously there were some mistakes. Nobody’s really hanging their head. We know it’s a long season so we’re going to get back to work and once it starts clicking it’s going to start clicking. We’re going to do some good stuff in the future.”

What does it feel like to be in the zone? “My swag comes on. I start getting active whatever that is, defense, offense.”

Lorenzo Romar 

(Thank you to Percy Allen for help with this video)

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Opening “Well, on one hand you’d like to see (Marcus) Marshall in horse or any other game shoot a running right-hander going to his left and see how many times it would go in. He, I think that was his 30th point, and we put ourselves in that position. Our inability to get a stop by not rebounding the ball in the first half hurt us. We tell our team if you don’t take care of business early then you put yourself in a position for the official to make a call, for someone to throw up a shot at the buzzer that you didn’t think they could make. We put ourselves in that position. In the first half with 15 second chance points, or something like that, that they had, that just really hurt us in that regard. Our guys did a great job of coming back when we were down. David Crisp hit some big shots for us. I think we looked at the first half, if we would have got the rebound we we got a stop we would have held them to about 27% shooting. But we didn’t get the rebound so they ended shooting 41% in the first half.”

On rebounding hurting the team this year “It didn’t against Gonzaga. We out rebounded them 54-42. We had 29 offensive rebounds. It hadn’t been, I don’t think; I’d have to go back. I think we’re plus-six overall on the backboards. But tonight we didn’t do a very good job.”

On Marcus Marshall’s game winner “Anytime you get somebody to take a running one-hander drifting on the move with a hand right there with your arguably best defender, you’ll take that position every day of the week. He just hit a tough shot.”

On a multitude of fouls “It certainly hurt us in the first half. Our guys were on the bench that kind of coincided with their run if I remember correctly. Matisse (Thybulle) picked up his third foul. I think Noah (Dickerson) and Malik (Dime), we had to sit them down with foul trouble. They obviously went to the line; I think they made 22 foul shots to our 11. There’s a big difference right there. I have to go back and look and see what was the common denominator on those fouls.”

Did switching to a zone help? “I think it did. No doubt. I think it did. You would think we wouldn’t foul as much, but we didn’t play a zone the entire half either. We played man to man also. I think the zone helped us.”

Why did you implement a zone? “We had gone eight-straight games and what we were doing wasn’t going too well. We had played zone, but we adjusted our zone a little bit. That’s where we went.”

On Carlos Johnson possibly playing more minutes “He got 21 (minutes) tonight. The game before he got 16 and I think there was 11. He’s been getting more minutes each game. He would have been getting more minutes earlier, but he was still learning on the defensive end and learning our plays and where he was supposed to be. He’s getting a better feel for that now. Obviously he brings energy. What he did in a loss on the road I thought was impressive. For a freshman to go in front of that type of crowd on the road and do what he did against Gonzaga was impressive. That’s why he earned more minutes tonight. I consider him a guy that’s worked his way into our rotation.”

On dealing with the rough start to the season “We’ll continue to point out why we think we can turn it around, that all is not lost. We really talked to our guys about not listening to outside talk. Like I said the last game, social media, you start reading all the comments people are saying. It can get to you. And you can’t let tat get to you. You can’t let whoever it is that’s talking down at your team or you or your teammates. You just can’t let that happen. Because it’s going to happen. That’s part of it. Continue to work on things that we’ve got to get better at. I thought we got better at some things tonight. Point those things out that we’re doing well.”

Are you concerned about effort? “At times, yes. Tonight our effort was better, though. But at times, yes, effort is a question.”

Where does a lack of effort show up? “Everywhere. Getting back sometimes in transition. Sometimes on the defensive end. Sometimes cutting on offense, where you just don’t cut hard. Sometimes you just, with a young team, you just make mistakes. But if you’re going all out making mistakes, you’ll be okay.”

Is it harder with this team not having the same leadership as last year? “We just have to find our way. Malik plays, he’s a senior. The rest are freshmen and sophomores. Those sophomores that are here weren’t the primary guys last year. Guys are in different rolls. We’re finding our way. I believe we can find our way. We can’t get down on ourselves and lose belief. We can’t do that.”

On the mood of the locker room? “Guys were really disappointed and down. Really disappointed and down. But I have a feeling we’re resilient. We’ll come back. We have finals this week. Unfortunately we have a week to think about this. We’ll come back. This is not game 28. This is game nine. At some point if it doesn’t happen we can’t continue to say it’s a long season, a lot of season ahead. But there still is. We just have to keep getting better, keep getting better.”

On Kelsey Plum setting the PAC-12 career scoring record “You get what you put into it. I don’t know how many athletes in any sport work harder at her craft than she does. She’s talented. Sometimes you can work really - I don’t care how hard I work at lacrosse, I’m not going to be very good. But if you have that basic talent package and you put the time into it you can do great things. She’s been so determined, worked so hard, it’s no coincidence or fluke that this has happened. Just really happy for her and the team.”

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