Halfway to perfection: Washington tops UCLA 69-55
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) – David Crisp and Jaylen Nowell both scored 15 points, Matisse Thybulle added 14, and Washington finished the first half of Pac-12 Conference play unbeaten after a 69-55 win over UCLA on Saturday.
The Huskies (18-4, 9-0) won their 11th straight overall and 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.
It was not one of Washington’s more eye-pleasing performances, especially in the first half when both teams were more interested in committing turnovers than getting good looks at the basket. But the Huskies made 11 3-pointers, including four in the first half from Crisp, to help offset the early sloppiness.
Thybulle finished with seven steals, two off the school record. He had six in the first half.
Kris Wilkes led UCLA (12-10, 5-4) with 20 points and Prince Ali added 12, but the Bruins were unable to complete their first road sweep since late in the 2016-17 season when they swept the Arizona schools.
Washington never trailed the final 30 minutes, but it wasn’t until a late flurry of 3s that finally gave the Huskies a comfortable cushion. Leading 49-41, Thybulle hit a pair of 3s, Dominic Green added another and Sam Timmins 3-point play on a dunk helped Washington take its biggest lead at 63-48 with four minutes remaining. Timmins had nine points and six rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench with Hameir Wright in foul trouble and Washington losing forward Noah Dickerson to an injury early in the second half.
The first half was defined by sloppy turnovers by both teams. Washington continued to show it struggles when facing full-court pressure defense, while UCLA was simply careless against the Huskies zone. UCLA committed 18 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, three more than its season average for an entire game. The Bruins had nearly as many turnovers (18) as shot attempts (23) in the first half.
But Washington was equally careless for stretches, especially when UCLA pressed. The Huskies had 11 turnovers but countered the sloppiness with seven 3-pointers, including three in the final five minutes as Washington closed the half on an 11-3 run to take a 31-23 lead.
UCLA: The Bruins turnover problems were better in the second half with just five after halftime, but the wasted possessions in the first-half – especially early after building an eight-point lead – ended up being a major factor.
Washington: The Huskies zone defense continues to work against conference foes. Washington has held every conference opponent to 70 points or less. The 55 points by UCLA was a season-low.
Washington played the final 18 minutes without Dickerson. He briefly left the game in the first half after appearing to injure his left arm, but it was an ankle injury early in the second half that sent him to the bench with a bag of ice for the rest of the game. Dickerson was injured behind the play on a fastbreak. He finished with three points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
UCLA: The Bruins return home to host Colorado on Wednesday night.
Washington: The Huskies face a major road test traveling to Arizona next Thursday.