Washington wins NIT round 1 over Boise State 77-74

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29: Noah Dickerson
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29: Noah Dickerson /

5-seed Washington Basketball team advances in a thrilling round one win over 4-seed Boise State 77-74

The Washington Basketball team enjoyed a surprisingly successful season. But it ended prematurely with an early dismissal form the Pac-12 Conference Tournament.  As such, the Washington Basketball team felt they hadn’t finished what they started out to do. To do so, the Huskies wanted to continue competiting for thrilling and entertaining wins. And thanks to an invitation to play in the 2018 NIT, they got what they asked for. The opening round pitted 5-seed Washington against 4-seed Boise State.

In a clash of nearly equal opponents, five-seed Washington Huskies held on to defeat the Boise State Broncos in round one of the NIT by the score of 77-74. And on a night where Boise State senior guard Chandler Hutchinson led all scorers with a 39 point outburst, it was the Washington team which prevailed.

The game wasn’t over until the final buzzer

This was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Washington Huskies were unstoppable. They hit on their perimeter shooting, and the exchange of three-points to two-points by the Broncos began to show on the scoreboard. Sam Timmins scored all of his points in the second quarter, as Washington began to take a commanding lead. By the team the teams paused at halftime, the Huskies held a 36-21 lead.

But Boise State was not done, and by the end of the third quarter, had closed to within three points, 48-45.   From that point on, Washington would mount an offensive run to resume a solid lead, only to watch as Fresno State battle back to close to within three points.

Round two

The win moves the Washington Huskies into round two, where they face top seed St. Mary’s. The teams face off once more at Madison Square Garden. Round two games play from March 16-18, so you can expect this game to fall on the 16th.

Jaylen Nowell led the Huskies with 25 points, including 60 percent shooting from three-point range.  Both Matisse Thybulle and Noah Dickerson fought through foul trouble, as both ended the game with five fouls. David Crisp struggled to shoot with just two of ten shots scoring. But the rest of the team were hitting on virtually  everything. Removing Crisp’s shots, the remainder of the team shot 25-47 from the floor at 53.2 percent.

Looking ahead

These Washington Basketball players are no stranger to winning against higher ranked opponents. Saint Mary’s had a legitimate case to play in the NCAA Tournament this year, and will no doubt be a huge challenge for the Huskies.

Saint Mary’s obliterated SE Louisianna in their round one contest, 89-45.  A huge part of their offense was their 54.2 percent scoring from the perimeter.  But they also excel at shots from the foul line, at 85.7 percent accuracy.

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Washington has solid defense. In fact, they have the best three-point defense in the Pac-12. So, on paper, they line up well with the Gaels. Another solid matchup is the fact that Saint Mary’s is not a front-court-centric team. They have a solid center in 6-foot-11 senior Jock Landale, and 7-foot-1 freshman Jock Perry. But Landale gets the lion share of minutes, even in that blowout win. Since the Huskies have had success countering bigs with Noah Dickerson, that should be a good matchup in this game. While Saint Mary’s did spilt with Gonzaga, they lost to Washington State at home. Perhaps they will lose once more to a team from Washington.