A career high 18 points form Nahziah Carter and another solid offensive effort from David Crisp helped the Washington Huskies (11-4 overall, 2-0 Pac12) to a 69 to 53 win over the Utah Running Utes (7-8,1-2) Thursday night at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Crisp chipped in 17 points 5 of-7 from the arc while was Carter 3 of 4 from the trey line c and the Husky defense held the Utes to a season-low in points.
Utah shot a season-low .333 (20-60) from the field and were just 6-of-30 (.200) from three-point range. The Huskies, after shooting just .378 from the field in the first half, and would register a .464 effort in the second half.
The Huskies, on the other hand, ended the night shooting .415 (27-65) from the field overall, which included a .409 (9-22) effort from beyond the arc.
Crisp’s 17 points followed last weeks season-high 23 points against Washington State. Utah led 15-13 before Crisp buried four straight 3s. Since Pac-12 play began, the Huskies have suddenly found their touch from beyond the arc, hitting 41 percent.
Jayce Johnson led the Utes with 12 points before leaving the game in the final minutes after getting hit in the face and falling to the court. Donnie Tillman had 10 for the Utes, who missed 24 of their 30 3-point attempts.
Both teams were knocked from their normal offensive flows by the defensive pressure at times. The Utes also played man-to-man defense but the Huskies stuck with their trademark zone and extended it to chase the Utes off the 3-point line or force awkward attempts.
The Huskies’ quick hands and length created dozens of deflections, forced 16 turnovers and nine blocked shots. The Utes were determined to pass into the middle of the zone but even when the ball got there, they often couldn’t navigate the gauntlet of collapsing defenders.
Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson, Washington’s leading scorers, had a combined two points at halftime and yet the Huskies led 38-30.
The Huskies made a concerted effort to feed Dickerson on the post and he responded with seven straight points to open the second half and Washington led by 15.
A rare Utah 3-pointer by Sedrick Barefield got the Utes back within 47-42, but the Huskies ratcheted up the pressure once again and went on a 12-0 run, capped by Carter’s jumper to make it 59-42.
POST GAME QUOTES
Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak
On playing a tough zone…
“I mean we experienced the really good zone, which we didn’t encounter in Arizona, that was all man. [UW’s] zone is leading our conference in blocked shots and steals, I thought that it’s a fine line. The first half we had some breakdowns in guarding David Crisp, and then Carter slung in a couple of threes. The three-point line was the difference in the first half, we played pretty connected, but it’s hard.”
On defensive rotations…
“I don’t think it’s either or, I thought we made progress, but at the end of the day you have to be so connected and have all five guys defensively connected to where you have each other’s back. I think about Crisps’ three’s, you can’t go under, or he’ll get it going. We’ve got to improve. We played some zone. I thought our zone was decent sometimes and our man was decent sometimes, but at the end of the day we have to score more points. I was more pleased tonight about our defensive effort than I was in Arizona. It’s a different animal playing against that zone.”
On playing the zone going forward…
“There’s none of this quality. That’s what Washington does. [UW head coach] Mike Hopkins comes from Syracuse and that’s all they do. They recruit to some certain things, and it’s hard to simulate. Tyler Rawson
did excellent last year in the high post, and even now, we still had our opportunities. A lot of the guys out here hadn’t seen that before. When you go to take shots and you have that much length flying at you, it’s easy to see why they lead the conference in blocks and steals. I hope we don’t play against a zone that dialed it. It was no secret what we were going to get. In the practice setting, it’s just really hard to simulate that.”
Washington head coach Mike Hopkins
On David Crisp’s game during the first two conference games …
He has always been able to score. We have kind of talked about him running the team and doing those things. When David is confident, we run a few plays for him. He’s a scorer. He was doing that every time they were trying to make a run. He would just come back with a dagger. The thing that was most impressive for me tonight was the four steals, the four assists and only one turnover. Then that was incredible with 37 minutes. He is just the heart and soul of our program and our team.
On controlling the game without the two leading scorers scoring …
It just says that we are growing and we’re getting better. When you start getting contributions from seven, eight, nine guys, it is going to be a big thing moving forward. I’ll you a kid that is really good that only played four minutes is Jamal Bey and he keeps getting better and better. The great thing about really great teams is it can be a different guy every night. The veterans are starting to get really confident with the young guys and vice versa. The biggest key to this game was defense. We held the 34th team on KenPom.com offensive efficiency. The big thing was the three-point line and we did that and we did it on the two. That was our activity.