The Washington Huskies have the necessary momentum as the Pac-12 tournament approaches.
On Saturday afternoon, two days after the end of the first meeting of the season against their rivals in the state of Pullman, the Huskies rallied to win over Washington State with a score of 78-70 at the Hack Edmundson Pavilion.
“I used to play a bunch of rivalry games against a lot of different opponents, but this game is different,” said Husky forward Emmit Matthews Jr. “It’s a house. … I know how much it meant to everyone on our team, employees, fans. “
The win broke a four-game losing streak for UW, which included a series of defeats by three straight opponents in Arizona, USC and UCLA before losing Wednesday night to WSU – heading into the final week of the regular season.
“I felt it was a great college basketball game in a rival game, and coming out with a win – that cheers you up,” UW coach Mike Hopkins said.
The Cougars (15-13, 8-9 Pac-12) controlled the lead for most of the first 25 minutes, but one day the Huskies (14-13, 9-8) – and more specifically Terrell Brown Jr. – found rhythm in the second half. , it did little to disturb.
After throwing just 1 of 9 off the floor in the first half and entering a four-point break, Brown quickly regrouped, finishing 7 of 12 in the second half and making 7 of 9 free-throw attempts.
He scored 21 of 25 points for his team in the final half and brought UW forward, which he never lost with a score of 15:15 until the end when he hit the jumper in the paint, made a foul and executed a free throw. follows to make it 37-36.
“We think he’s the best player in the league,” Hopkins said. “We knew he wouldn’t go 1-on-9 again. We felt we had to open the court and we started playing a little bit, we started managing them, we got a bonus and he delivered. That’s what he does. “
UW increased the lead to nine points after a pair of free throws by Jamal Bay with a score of 2:41, but WSU almost narrowed the gap.
The Cougars cut Husky’s lead to three points in the 2:17 final to reduce Husky’s lead to three points, one each from O’Dee High School’s Noah Williams, Michael Flowers and Tyrell Roberts.
Two free throws by TJ Bamba reduced the lead to one possession for the last time 37.5 seconds before the end, but what happened next ended any threat of a late return for the Cougars.
Matthews, returning after missing one game with a concussion, stayed behind the WSU defense for 28 seconds and threw a one-handed strike to give the Husky a five-point lead when the crowd exploded.
The Huskies have added three more penalties in the last 11 seconds for their last eight-point lead.
Matthews finished with 15 points behind the Huskies in his first game back, while UW also brought back guard Daion Davis after an absence in five games due to a shoulder injury. Davis added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists and three steals.
“These guys care about each other, they’re competitors, they want to help us win, and tonight they showed a great soul,” Hopkins said. “A lot of hearts.”
Bay also reached double-digit figures for UW with 10 points and Nate Roberts with nine.
Flowers led all the scorers with 30 points, which contributed to a stellar first half, while Mohamed Gaye added 10 for the WSU, and for a while it seemed that the Cougars could win a series of the season.
The Huskies took the lead twice in the first three minutes, but the WSU did not back down after Flowers scored one of five three-pointers in the first half at 16:45.
UW then tied the score twice, but the Cougars regained the lead within the last nine minutes of the half when Flowers reconnected from the corner, responding to a 3-point Bay a few minutes before, and made the score 20-17.
Flowers soon counted another 3-point and made the first six attempts from the floor – including five throws from the perimeter – before missing, finishing in 6-8 and 5-7 with a 3-point range. His 20 points allowed the Cougars to break ahead with a score of 34-28.
UW rallied to finish 26 of 54 (48.1 percent) off the floor, while WSU scored 24 of 70 (34.3).
“They realized they didn’t do what we needed to do in the first half, but they came together, they were very tough, and we played, I thought, very, very tough in the second half, so we won,” Hopkins said. .
UW hosts UCLA on Monday night – putting together what would be for a Pac-12 husky. which was postponed to December – before visiting Oregon schools on the weekends to close the regular season.
This story was originally published February 26, 2022, 5:29 p.m.