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Huskies win Battle of Seattle, 94-72

Led by the 21 points and 17 rebounds of sophomore forward Noah Dickerson, the Washington Huskies took an 11-point halftime lead and never looked back, eventually beating cross-town Seattle University 94-72 in the Elgin Baylor Holiday Classic, held Thursday night at Key Arena.

Markelle Fultz added 18 points for the Huskies (7-5), while David Crisp tallied 16 and Dominic Green 10 for UW. 

Seattle (7-6) was paced by the 17 points of Brendan Westendorf, the only Redhawk to score in double-figures. William Powell, Aaron Menzies, Scott Ulaneo, and Zachary Moore all scored nine points apiece. 

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar post-game said the win was the most complete game of the season for the Huskies.

"No question about it," he said. "The way we went about our business made it our most complete game.

“I think we made a lot of progress. There’s still a long ways to go but I think we made a lot of progress. We told our guys tonight we looked like a basketball team on the defensive end and the offensive end. That hasn’t always been the case in this early season. And then the last game I thought we did a lot more. Again, progress.”

Both teams struggled mightily to find a rhythm offensively against each other's zone defense, and it didn't help the Huskies that Fultz was tagged with two quick fouls within the first two minutes of the game.

Threes by Malik Montoya and Moore gave the home team a 16-9 edge just before the under-12 time out, as Seattle held the visitors without a point for nearly three minutes. 

But David Crisp hit a couple of three-pointers out of inbounds plays to finally give Washington some semblance of offense. And Dickerson was doing his part in the paint, coming down with 10 first half rebounds. A Dickerson jumper with 6:07 to intermission gave the Huskies a five-point lead, and back-to-back threes by Matisse Thybulle and Green to finish the half out gave UW a 41-30 advantage. 

Crisp hit the last two of his game-high five three-pointers early in the second half to keep Washington's offensive momentum chugging along.

“David played phenomenal basketball, but David Crisp is playing phenomenal basketball," Romar said of the sophomore guard. "Night-in and night-out he has become a pretty reliable basketball player for us. I didn’t say shooter; basketball player. Shooting comes with that, but he’s doing other things that has made him more of a complete basketball player. He is more impactful in the game as a result.”

And then a rare Dickerson trey really signaled his intent to take things over. Four-straight free throws by Dickerson after that gave the Huskies their first 20-point lead of the game. 

I’m trying to get that 20/20," Dickerson said post-game with a smile. "I was close. Next time. There’s many more games to play this season, so you never know.”

Seattle never got any closer than 14 after a Manny Chibuogwu three with 10:26 to play in the game, despite trying to trap and pressure Washington into turnovers in the second half. The Huskies did have 19 miscues on the night, but the main ball-handlers only accounted for five of those turnovers.

“I just like it when people try and trap me," Fultz said. "I think it’s fun. A lot of people are not successful doing it. My IQ, I just try and find an open man or I can break it myself. Coach let us know that they were going to try and press us but it’s not the first team that’s tried to press us. With our guards’ ability, it’s easy to break.”

Overall, Washington had 22 assists on 31 made shots, 13 from Crisp and Fultz. 

"We were zoned for 40 minutes, so in the zone you’re probably going to have assists if you’re making shots," Romar said. "You’ve got to be able to make shots. What I like, we shot 20 three-pointers. It’s easy to shoot 27-30 because they are zoning you. We went inside and out. We scored outside, we went inside and that’s the best way to try and attack a zone - from the inside out.”

Despite the obvious progress made the last few games for Washington, to a man they believe there's a lot left out there to get.

"I still don’t think we’re playing our best basketball," Fultz said. "I think there’s still a lot of stuff we need to work on. We gave up some point on things we messed up on ourselves where we didn’t rotate right. We’re improving. I would say that. But I don’t think we are where we should be.”

VIDEOS

Noah Dickerson

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Why do you think you guys were so good against their zone tonight? - “We practiced against it since we started playing zone. We saw it last year and had a lot of guys come back so we knew how to play it. We watched a lot of film on it too. So we just knew the right ways to attack and not settle for so many jump shots. When we do shoot jump shots, make it come off an assist, drive and kicks and things like that. It worked to our favor in this game.”

How big of a task was it to defend Menzies? - “It was a huge task because they go to him a lot. He’s a big-body guy. We were just told to not give him any angles. When he catches it, just stay straight up and make him finish over us. And Malik can go get him at the top because that’s what Malik does.”

Do you feel you guys are playing your best basketball now? - “No, but we’re getting there. I think there’s even more to us that you guys don’t even know. We’re still getting better. We come back from a little break and a week of practice we can get even better. But we’re getting there.”

Did you see this game coming from you tonight? - “I want to say yeah. Everybody does. But I’m just coming back into my own, my role - and I’m just trying to make the plays I need to make and hopefully there’s more than that.”

That three looked like you’d been shooting it all your life - “I practice it a lot. I shoot them in practice. I just need to see the first one go in. Once the first one goes in and the dust is off my shoulders, now I’m good.”

What is the next step for this team? - “We can do way more defensively. We’re getting way better from where we started from, but defensively we can get way better.”

How much better do you feel about the team from after the Nevada loss? - “I never looked down on us. I always thought some teams go through rough patches and it happens. We’re a young team. I knew just from how we all are we were going to bounce back and we did. We started to get our own identity and we’re going to keep it rolling now.”

On personally getting 21 and 17 - “It’s cool. I’m trying to get that 20/20. I was close. Next time. There’s many more games to play this season, so you never know.”

Markelle Fultz

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Did it feel like a true away game? - “Yeah. It did because we weren’t at home and we didn’t have our crowd behind us, like the Dawg Pack and stuff like that. So it did.”

Do you think the team is playing its best basketball now? - “No. I still don’t think we’re playing our best basketball. I think there’s still a lot of stuff we need to work on. We gave up some point on things we messed up on ourselves where we didn’t rotate right. We’re improving. I would say that. But I don’t think we are where we should be.”

Have you guys turned a corner? - “Just keeping our confidence, doing the same things we were doing from the beginning, just having more confidence and knowing it’s going to take defense to win games. I think a lot of people are taking pride in defense and we’re still improving. We still have stuff to work on.”

When you see a teammate like Noah who is scoring and rebounding like that, do you do extra to make sure he’s getting the ball? - “My goal is just to feed everybody, to get people going. Dom, David - everybody. When they come in the game I just try and use them for what they do best, if that’s shooting, driving, the post. When Noah gets hot I try to go to him a lot. When David gets hot I try to go to him a lot. Whoever has the hot hand I’m just trying to find them or just get everybody going.”

On David playing a complete game - “It’s great. That’s the one thing he wants to improve on in his game is being an all-around player. He’s capable of doing it. He’s a great passer, he’s a great finisher, great finisher. He’s a great player.”

On Seattle trying to trap you - “I just like it when people try and trap me. I think it’s fun. A lot of people are not successful doing it. My IQ, I just try and find an open man or I can break it myself. Coach let us know that they were going to try and press us but it’s not the first team that’s tried to press us. With our guards’ ability, it’s easy to break.”

With the way the game was going, did it feel like a desperate move? - “I’m not sure. They might have thought it was working but with our guards it’s easy to break and get into our offense and get past half court.”

How much more comfortable are you playing in the zone? - “I’m used to playing all positions. I think that year of JV when I was in high school helped me just being more versatile. I’m used to playing in the middle like a big, the wings, down low. I think that’s one of the things that helps me out.”

How are you dealing with the difficult of playing at this level and some of the losses? - “It’s the same old same old. Every loss you learn from it. You learn stuff from wins and losses and always think positive. Just pray to God and keep playing.”

Have you made sufficient progress now that the next games are league games? - “I think so. I worked on things I thought I needed to work on, like my all-around game. I’m happy with where I’m at but I still have a lot I need to work on before conference starts. It’s about to start when we come back from break, so I’m always in the gym working.”

How are you going to remember 2016? - “We left with a win, so that’s big for us. Being that we came off that four-game losing streak, it’s big for us to come out with this win and I’m just happy for my teammates and happy to go back home and see my family.”

Lorenzo Romar

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Opening - “I’m really proud of our guys tonight. I thought from start to finish our guys played good basketball. We were going to have to play good basketball. Seattle U is a very sound basketball team. Coach Dollar and his staff has this group to now where they are playing the way they want them to play for what they have. So I was really proud of our guys.

“Noah Dickerson, in terms of numbers, was phenomenal. He’s gotten himself in great shape so he can play longer and get more done. Sam Timmins and Malik Dime, those guys battled (Aaron) Menzies, who is really becoming a good basketball player. They battled him and didn’t just give him anything easy. 

“Our guys played with each other, 22 assists. Just played with each other. It was good to see that going into the break.”

Do you think you’ve turned a corner with this recent run of games? - “I will stick with the word progress. We have made progress. I thought we made progress in the Nevada game in a loss. It’s been coming and I thought in our last game it was more evident, and tonight I thought it was very evident that this team is making progress.”

How important was David Crisp in the first half, especially with Markelle’s foul trouble? - “David played phenomenal basketball, but David Crisp is playing phenomenal basketball. Night in and night out he has become a pretty reliable basketball player for us. I didn’t say shooter; basketball player. Shooting comes with that, but he’s doing other things that has made him more of a complete basketball player. He is more impactful in the game as a result.”

Was there anything leading up to this game that gave you the impression Noah would go for 21 and 17? - “He’s been getting close to double-doubles when he’s been playing and he just keeps getting better and better. When you’re working like he’s working now and you have the talent that he has, things are going to happen good for you.”

How critical is it to have assist numbers like you had tonight? - “I think that’s great. We were zoned for 40 minutes, so in the zone you’re probably going to have assists if you’re making shots. You’ve got to be able to make shots. What I like, we shot 20 three-pointers. It’s easy to shoot 27-30 because they are zoning you. We went inside and out. We scored outside, we went inside and that’s the best way to try and attack a zone - from the inside out.”

What was your plan of attack against Menzies? - “We were just hopeful that he wouldn’t get an angle. He got an angle on us early, scored a basket. We were trying to keep our bodies between him and the rim. Sam Timmins is strong enough to not let Menzies post up right in front of the basket. Because if he does it’s going to be a bucket. Malik is athletic enough to still be there and contest a shot. That’s what our guys did.”

Did it have the feel of a road game? - “Any time you’re not in your own place and there’s a lot of people making a lot of noise when the other team scores - you’re in a foreign place. Even though it’s in the same city, it’s still in another gym. I’m not comparing this rivalry to others, but in North Carolina - those schools are 20 minutes apart - you know you’re in another gym when you’re playing there.”

Letting Markelle play through the early foul trouble - “He’s pretty smart. He’s been in foul trouble twice this year, tonight being one, and he showed great restraint in a number of situations to not pick up that next foul.”

How close did you get to accomplishing what you wanted in the non-conference? - “We would have liked the score to be different in a few of the games. But if we’re using the non-conference schedule to become better as a team and make progress? I think we did that.”

Sufficient amount? - “I think we made a lot of progress. There’s still a long ways to go but I think we made a lot of progress. We told our guys tonight we looked like a basketball team on the defensive end and the offensive end. That hasn’t always been the case in this early season. And then the last game I thought we did a lot more. Again, progress.”

Was this your best complete game? - “Yes. No question about it. The way we went about our business made it our most complete game.”


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