The Washington Huskies (18-4, 9-0 Pac-12) kept their conference and home unbeaten streaks intact Saturday afternoon after overcoming a physical and mental gut check in their 69-55 win over the UCLA Bruins (12-10, 5-4) in front of a sold out Alaska Airlines Arena.
With the fans cheering them on, the Huskies had their worst start to a home game. Washington committed five-turnover, was 1-4 from the field and dug themselves into a 4-12 deficit after 4:10 had elapsed on the game clock. A quick time out by Husky head coach Mike Hopkins was able to calm the Huskies nerves as the team responded with a 14-2 run that saw the Huskies tie the game up at 14-all on a David Crisp three-pointer at the 10:59 mark.
The tie ball game spurred the wrong competitive juices in the two clubs. Both teams became sloppy in their handling of the ball leading to turnovers and bad shots on the offensive end.
Both teams became sloppy with the ball which led to a high number of turnovers and sloppy execution. The two teams combined for 29 first-half turnovers with the Huskies committing 11 and the Bruins 18. The difference maker between the two teams was the Huskies commitment to defense and the Dawgs ability to cash in on the Bruins turnovers. The Huskies scored 19 points from the Bruins turnovers and finished the first half with an 11-3 scoring run that gave then a 31-23 halftime lead.
The Huskies other gut check came early in the second half when center Noah Dickerson suffered his second injury on the game. In the first half, Dickerson left the game after hitting his shoulder hit the floor and returned minutes later. The second injury to Dickerson was a right ankle injury that sidelined him for the rest of the game. The Huskies were holding on to a nine-point lead when Dickerson left the game and his injury was a rallying point to propel the team to its 11th straight victory and extend it’s unbeaten home record to 12 games.
David Crisp and Jaylen Nowell both scored 15 points, Matisse Thybulle added 14, four rebounds, three assists and a game-high seven steals as Washington finished the first half of Pac-12 play unbeaten after a 69-55 win over UCLA on Saturday.
The Huskies became the ninth team since the 1978-79 season to reach 9-0 in conference play. Arizona started the 2016-17 season 10-0 before its first loss in conference. Before the Wildcats it had been since the 2003-04 season that a team started 9-0. Stanford started the 2003-04 season 17-0 before losing.