Washington transformed in the second half of its 57-41 victory over Sacramento State on Friday night.
Whatever caused the Huskies to ignite, it seemed to begin as time ran down in the first half. UW trailed by as many as nine points early, but held Sacramento State scoreless over the final two minutes and 55 seconds.
A Jaylen Nowell dunk with 1:22 trimmed the Hornets’ advantage to 22-17. Noah Dickerson then drained two free throws to give UW a boost heading into the break.
The Huskies went 0-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They didn’t fair much better from the field, going 8-of-24. They only managed to stay in the game with their defense, forcing 11 turnovers.
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After halftime, everything changed.
The Huskies built on the 4-0 spurt that closed out the first half by starting the second on an 11-0 run. By the time it ended, UW had taken a 30-22 lead. UW outscored the Hornets 38-19 after the break.
Heading into the game, head coach Mike Hopkins stressed the importance of a complete-game performance. The way UW played in the second half, he said, is the way he wants them to play for 40 minutes.
Instead, the Huskies continued a concerning habit of getting off to slow starts. It most recently happened in the loss to Virginia Tech before repeating against Sacramento State.
UW was able to come away with a victory on Friday night but Hopkins will still be searching for a solution, especially with Pac-12 play quickly approaching. UW will wrap up its non-conference schedule against Cal State Fullerton on New Year’s Day before opening its conference slate against Washington State on Jan. 5.
Matisse Thybulle led the Huskies with 12 points, seven steals and four rebounds. Dickerson had 12 points, while Nahziah Carter had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.