Despite entering the game as a road underdog, the Washington Basketball team stood toe to to against 1-seed Saint Mary’s in round 2 of the NIT
The Washington Basketball team entered the second round of the NIT as a road underdog. But they faced a motivated 1-seed. You see, Saint Mary’s College found itself snubbed by the NCAA Tournament. Out to prove the NCAA wrong, the Gaels had plenty of incentivize to advance at home. The Washington Huskies were ousted in round one of the Pac-12 Championship Tournament. But they reversed their fortunes in the NIT. In fact, the Huskies, had pulled out a minor upset against Boise State in round one of the NIT.
The Huskies were David. Saint Mary’s was Goliath. Unfortunately, the final score did not match the heart and courage shown on the basketball court. The game opened completely lopsided. Just seven plus minutes into the game, the Washington Basketball team found itself down by ten points.
Change the opening, change the outcome
But even in the opening onslaught, it was clear that the Huskies entered the game with a good plan – do not let Saint Mary’s star senior center Jock Landale beat the team. And so, as the Gael’s got solid minute out of reserve Evan Fitzner, the Huskies continued to defend Landale well. And by halftime, the Huskies had found a way to claw back into it to close to a six point deficit: 36-41.
The second half opened as the game had. Saint Mary’s range shooters shelled the Huskies. At the five minute mark of the third quarter, the Gaels took a commanding 14 point lead. By the two minute mark, the Gaels led by 16 points. And with time running out, even the announcers were ready to stick a fork into the game and call it done.
Finish off the game
Heroism comes in all forms. But there was certainly heroism in the hearts of Washington Basketball team players. Hostile crowd. Down 14 points, and one 10 minute period to go. They had every reason to fold like paper dolls. They rose up instead. Noah Dickerson began the late rally with four points. Then Naz Carter chimed in with a layup. Matisse Thybulle and Carter found their three-point range, and suddenly the Huskies pulled to within four points. But from that point on, the Gaels began to answer back.
The lead oscillated between three and six points. But in the end, the early lead proved to be too much to overcome, and the Washington Basketball team fell to Saint Mary’s by the final score of 81-85. The Huskies had 10 steals and six blocks, led by defensive standout Matisse Thybulle with four and four. Noah Dickerson led the Huskies scoring with 22 points. With the outcome, the Washington Basketball season is now over. But the team ended in a way to leave lots of enthusiasm for next year.