Washington basketball’s offense found new life on Thursday night when RaeQuan Battle took the floor and lit it up in his first career start
Mike Hopkins challenged Washington basketball’s upperclassmen to step up after their loss to Cal on the road, and while they played a complete game in their dominant win over Oregon State, it was true freshman RaeQuan Battle who infused new life into the Husky offense.
Five-star freshman Jaden McDaniels didn’t play in the win, even though he suited up for the game, and Battle took his place in the starting lineup and was excellent. He finished with 11 points on the night, going 4-6 from the field including 3-5 from three-point range. He added two rebounds, two assists, three steals, and sent the student section into an uproar every time he touched the ball.
The Huskies struggled on the offensive glass without McDaniels, but with Battle’s touch and confidence from behind the three-point line, which is something Washington desperately needs right now, would they be willing to start Battle and maybe sit Hameir Wright? As a team, the Huskies were shooting 31.7% from behind the three-point line coming into the game, averaging six made threes per game, and Battle alone was able to knock down three triples in the first half.
And it’s not just Battle’s offense, he brought an element of energy and hustle that matched all-world hustler Isaiah Stewart on every play. Battle’s speed on defense and the way he threw himself at every loose ball was the exact kind of boost the Huskies needed after their rough weekend in the Bay Area.
Battle and fellow true freshman Marcus Tsohonis were a great change of pace for the Huskies at the guard position, who are still dealing with the loss of Quade Green, but with both players’ skill sets, they could really ease the pain of losing a player of Green’s caliber.
Note: Battle seemed to tweak something in the second half, and didn’t play much after that. The game was in hand at that point so hopefully it was just a precautionary move by Mike Hopkins, but that’s something to keep an eye on before the matchup with Oregon on Saturday.