Lead by Noah Dickerson’s season high 24 points, the Huskies were able to overcome a first half defined by Washington’s poor shooting to surge in the second half and do just enough to hold off Texas A&M tonight in Vancouver.
Texas A&M lead the entire first half, leading Washington by as many as 13 points. Despite horrendously bad shooting by Washington (23% from the floor), they were able to stay close enough to give themselves a chance. Dominic Green hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer to send the two teams into their locker rooms at the half with A&M up 38-33. It would be in the second half where the Huskies would find their mojo and claw themselves back into this game.
The Aggies biggest lead in the second half was 55-48 with about 11 1⁄2 minutes to go. At that point, a stingy Washington defense stepped up (they switched from the 2-3 zone into man-to-man for a while) and Washington went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes. The Huskies took the lead on Dickerson’s and 1 play, which came after another Green 3-pointer and a Mattise Thybulle dunk, and just before David Crisp’s own 3-pointer.
Washington shot 50% in the second half and only allowed the Aggies to score three field goals in the final 11 1⁄2 minutes of the game. However, the outcome of the game was anything but certain in final minutes. Foul trouble plagued both teams and sent many players to the line late in the second half. Despite Washington outscoring Texas A&M from the stripe (25-36 vs. 16-25), with a slim 69-66 lead, Dickerson missed two free-throws with 7 seconds left which gave the Aggies a chance. A heads-up foul by Hameir Wright sent A&M’s Jay Jay Chandler to the line with 4 seconds to go. After making the first shot, Chandler intentionally missed the second, but a lane violation by him gave the ball back to the Huskies. Thybulle was then fouled with 2 seconds left and made both shots to reach the game’s final score.
After his big 32 point night on Sunday, Jaylen Nowell got into foul trouble early in the second half and sat out for several minutes during the Huskies big run. He finished the night with 14 points, 5 rebounds and an assist. Dickerson was the real MVP for the Dawgs tonight. Despite some early misses and a mediocre night from the charity stripe, he managed to be an effective force down low and imposed his will on the Aggies, drawing several fouls and hauling in 17 rebounds. His final slash line included 24 points (7-19 FG, 10-17 FT), 17 rebounds (including 11 offensive boards), and two assists.
The Aggies were lead in scoring by guards Jay Jay Chandler with 21 points and TJ Starks with 17.
As a team, despite their initial poor shooting, the Huskies deserve credit for not giving up on this game and fighting back to secure the win. Player’s like Dickerson, Crisp and Thybulle all had stellar hustle plays at key points late in the game to prevent turnovers and keep the ball of out A&M player’s hands. Thybulle, as usual, played a big role defensively late in the game to help shut down A&M’s offense. He managed to secure four steals and two blocks, along with 7 points and an assist. Wright also had a very solid game, clocking 36 minutes off the bench and making some big defensive plays. He tallied 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 4 points.
With the win Washington is now 4-1 on the season and will play their final game of the Vancouver Showcase against Minnesota (4-0) tomorrow at 3:30 PM on the Big Ten Network. Watch out for the Golden Gophers, they’re pretty good dontchya know.