Washington Basketball: Huskies head to Arizona State

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 29: Matisse Thybulle
TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 29: Matisse Thybulle /

The Washington basketball team, like 80 percent of the teams in the Pac-12, win most if not all of the time at home. The difference is the Huskies have found  success playing on the road as well.

Washington basketball is undefeated now on the season after beating Arizona on Thursday, 67-60. The last time the Washington basketball team lost was on December 15th, 2018 to #11 ranked Virginia Tech  73-61 on a neutral site.

The Arizona Wildcats were missing their sensational freshmen Brandon Williams for the second straight game after having an injury against UCLA. He isn’t expected to play against the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, January 9th either. The Huskies were without starting forward Hameir Wright and Noah Dickerson started on the bench after suffering two injuries last Saturday against the UCLA Bruins. Dickerson has shown a lot of heart as he looked like he could be out for the season on both occasions. In the second injury with two minutes into the second half, Coach Mike Hopkins and the trainer had to help him off the court. Dickerson never returned into the game. Against the Wildcats, Dickerson had 10 points in 26 minutes of play.

Two other players who have played out of their minds during Pac-12 play are David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle. Crisp had 17 points while Thybulle added 15 of his own against Arizona. Thybulle was Pac-12 defensive player of the year last season but he is playing at an even higher level this year. He could end up being the national defensive player of the year. He is averaging three steals per game along with  2.2 blocks. Against Arizona he had five steals and five blocks each.

Last year the Huskies beat Arizona State at home in a close game, 68-64. Noah Dickerson led the team in scoring with 21 points along with 16 rebounds. Jaylen Nowell scored 15 points while David Crisp had 12. If these three play in the same way again this year, the Huskies will be in good shape to extend their win streak.

On Thursday night, Arizona State was beaten by the Washington State Cougars, a team who has had problem winning games in the Pac-12 and are now sitting at 2-8. The Sun Devils are now 6-4 in Pac-12 after being ranked #17 when the non-league season concluded. They are tied for second place in Pac-12 with Utah, USC, and Oregon State.

Two of the biggest reasons the Sun Devils lost to the Cougars were issues with three point shooting and free throws.  The Sun Devils made only 5 out of 33 from behind the arc and19 out of 33 free throws, while the Cougars made 12 out of 30 three’s and 27 out of 33 from the stripe. The Sun Devils will need to do a lot better in both categories to have any chance to win on Saturday.

Arizona State will need to get an early lead against the Huskies who have had trouble getting going in the first half. If the Huskies stay close at the end of the first half, they could end up winning in double digits. No team in the Pac-12 have been able to stop Washington’s offense after the break.

Save for some mental errors, the Huskies have found continued success in transition this season. They are athletic enough to run the ball up and down the court following defensive stops.

What I find positive about the Huskies is whenever they come out of a time out they usually go on a good run which means they listen to their coach. The same goes for making second-half adjustments.  These are two of the best reasons the Huskies are undefeated in Pac-12 play.

I am sure at some point they will lose during the remaining regular season. It would not surprise me either if ASU gave Washington it’s first loss of league play, but the Huskies have continued to find a way to win this far. Go Dawgs!