Noah Dickerson is ailing. Dominic Green is soaring. And Washington improved to 7-3 after avoiding a second-half meltdown in Sunday’s 70-62 win over Seattle University. But turnovers continue to plague the Huskies.
For 30 minutes Sunday night, the Huskies were firmly in control. Red-hot perimeter shooting and a smothering zone defense staked them to a 20-point lead over Seattle University.
And then, Washington nearly gave it all away in the final 10 minutes.
Here are three takeaways from UW’s 70-62 win.
Something’s wrong with Noah Dickerson
The all-Pac-12 forward appeared to labor a bit more than usual while wearing a brace on his left knee for the first time this season. Dickerson, who had 13 points and five rebounds, held his own against Seattle U big man Myles Carter (15 points and 7 rebounds).
In many ways, it was an extremely efficient game for Dickerson who converted 4 of 6 field goals and 5 of 6 free throws. He also had two steals in just 25 minutes.
Not including the Eastern Washington game when Dickerson sat out the first half because illness and played just 11 minutes, it was his third shortest outing this season.
In the opener, Dickerson played 23 minutes and in the second game he tallied 17. In both contests, he was saddled with foul trouble that reduced his minutes.
But against Seattle U, Dickerson avoided foul trouble and seemingly his minutes were limited because of a knee injury that originally occurred during an preseason workout.
The injury largely attributed to his relatively slow start this season. After an 11-point outing against Santa Clara, Dickerson scored at least 22 points in three of four games.
Following a 13-point, 7-rebound performance in 26 minutes during last week’s 81-79 defeat at Gonzaga, coach Mike Hopkins acknowledged that Dickerson complained “of a little soreness” in his knee.
On Sunday, Hopkins elaborated on Dickerson’s condition.
“He’s off and on,” Hopkins said. “He gets into the swimming pool. He’s had that knee injury at the beginning of the year. It’s one of those things that is going to be bothersome for him. But he’s a tough kid. … Having him on the court is huge, but it’s something that’s going to be off and on.”
When Dominic Green is on, UW can’t lose
For awhile, it looked as if Green was going to duplicate his personal-best performance when he converted seven three-pointers for a career-high 25 points two weeks ago against Eastern Washington.
The senior sharp-shooter sank 3 of 4 three-pointers in the first half while the Huskies were 6 of 9 behind the arc. UW led 41-34 at the break.
With Green dropping daggers from downtown and Jaylen Nowell and Dickerson scoring inside, UW’s offense is nearly unstoppable.
Green, who had a career-high tying seven rebounds, was 3 of 6 on three-pointers for 11 points. He’s attempted at last six 3s in the past four games.
When he makes two 3-pointers, Washington is 12-2 in the past two seasons. During that span, the Huskies are 8-0 when Green cans at least three 3-pointers.
The turnovers kill offensive continuity
It would seem a senior-oriented team that returns five starters from the previous season would have much better offensive cohesion than the Huskies.
And yet, Washington has had more turnovers than assists in six of their 10 games.
It happened again Sunday.
The Huskies finished with a whopping 16 turnovers – two shy of their season high – and just nine assists, which was two more than their season low.
Surprisingly, UW is 4-2 when it has more turnovers than assists. But this is not a blueprint that conducive to winning.
Hopkins knows as much. Maybe that’s why he expressed dismay Sunday night about the Huskies’ obsession with their individual offensive performances.
“Sometimes what happens with kids, they allow their offense to be in their heads for the defensive end,” he said. “You got to be on a short-term memory in this game. When you start thinking that way, you start thinking about yourself and you’re not thinking about your team.
“The one thing that we’re trying to do is get these guys thinking about each other for long periods of time. It’s our shot, not your shot.”
Shot selection became an issue in the second half Sunday when Washington sank just 10 of 27 field goals, including 0 of 8 three-pointers.
The poor shooting was exacerbated when the Huskies committed nine turnovers in the second half.
Nowell, who had a team-high 18 points and a personal-best tying nine rebounds, was UW’s best player Sunday.
And the Huskies are at their best offensively when the 6-4 guard has the ball.
However, he’s become a high-risk/high-reward player who committed five turnovers Sunday. It’s the seventh time Nowell has had at least three turnovers.
Nowell and Dickerson are tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with 3.1 turnovers per game.