Freshman forward RaeQuan Battle provided the Washington Huskies ( 12-6, 2-3) the offensive infusion they had been desperately seeking by scoring 11 first half points in the Huskies 64-56 win over the Oregon State Beavers ( 12-5,2-3) Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. Battle was given his first starting assignment of the season by head coach Mike Hopkins because Jaden McDaniel’s was recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the Huskies overtime loss to California last Saturday.
OUTSIDE GAME OPENS INSIDE GAME
Battle’s long range trio of three’s opened the paint for the Huskies which then opened up shooting lanes for Isaiah Stewart who scored 11 second half points after scoring just two points in the first. Stewart finished the game with a team high 13 points. In addition to Battle, the Huskies also received double digit offensive outputs from freshman Marcus Tsohonis 11 points, Junior Nahziah Carter (10pts) and Sophomore Jamal Bey 11 points.
DEFENSE WINS GAME
While the balanced offensive output was a burden for the Beavers, what won the game for the Huskies was their spot on stiffing zone defense. The Huskies were able to hold the Beavers to a low 39 % from the field. The Beavers made 20 of 51 shots. They were worse from the three point line making two off eleven shots for a 16.7 %. Kylor Kelley led the Beavers with 16 points and Tres Tinkle added 15. But Tinkle was just 2 of 12 from the field and the Beavers missed their first eight 3-point attempts.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Before Thursday’s game Battle had appeared in just six games and played a total of 35 minutes and scoring eight points. The Huskies are young and talented and the learning curve for head coach Mike Hopkins will be to find a way to keep player focused on the big picture without getting dejected because of lack of playing time, injuries or losses.