Huskies Erase First Half Deficit, Outlast Cougars
SEATTLE -- Trailing by six at halftime, the Washington men's basketball team caught fire to begin the second half and pulled away from Washington State to record a 78-70 win in the second installment of the 2022 Boeing Apple Cup from Alaska Airlines Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Dawgs opened the second frame on a 16-4 run after entering the locker room down 34-28. Terrell Brown Jr. shook off a slow start and finished with 24 points, 20 of which came after halftime. Brown hit seven of his 12 shots after the break to close out the Cougs.
"Just breathe, you know? Sometimes you have to relax a little bit," Brown said of his approach to the second half. "Basketball evens out eventually."
The Huskies kept it close in the early going, as the Cougars held a slim lead most of the way. The teams traded three pointers early in the game, as PJ Fuller and Jamal Bey each hit from long distance. They helped the Huskies keep pace with Michael Flowers, who converted five three-pointers and paced the Cougars in the first half with 20 points. He finished with a season-high 30 in the losing effort.
In his first game action since Feb. 6 at Stanford, Daejon Davis provided his usual stifling defense, recording three steals and living in the Cougars' passing lanes. Making his first appearance off the bench as a member of the Huskies, Davis played through pain and stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds, and five assists. The Huskies outscored Washington State by 16 points in Davis's 28 minutes.
"He hadn't played in, how long, three weeks?" said Head Coach Mike Hopkins. "Pretty spectacular."
Washington stayed close early on thanks to some impressive individual plays. Langston Wilson soared for a chase-down block as the Cougs got out on the fast break. Not long after, Davis scored the first of his nine points, beating the shot clock with a wild lefty floater. Emmitt Matthews Jr. had six of his 15 points in the first half and was extremely active on the glass, grabbing several athletic rebounds on both ends.
The Dawgs held two of the Cougars' better scoring threats in check for the majority of the afternoon. Double-digit scorers Noah Williams and Tyrell Roberts were a combined 1-17 at the under-16 media timeout, and finished with 14 points on 25 shots.
The Huskies' stifling defense forced Washington State into 11 turnovers, as the Cougars shot just 34% from the floor for the game. They switched to a man defense in the second half, containing the Cougs' starting bigs.
Washington State cut the lead to three with under a minute remaining, but the Huskies executed a picture-perfect press break that led to a thunderous dunk from Matthews Jr. and a roar from the home crowd. The emotional, come-from-behind rivalry win had the Huskies feeling confident heading into a big stretch on the schedule.
"If you love college basketball, and you're a competitor, this is what you want," said Hopkins. "This is what you're waiting for."
Bey (13) joined Brown Jr. and Matthews Jr. in double figures. Nate Roberts brought his usual interior presence on both ends, with nine points and eight rebounds.
Next up for Washington (14-13, 9-8) is a rematch with No. 12 UCLA Monday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.