Washington head coach Mike Hopkins just wanted to get his team through this one.
After flying across the country to face Auburn on Friday — and having the bus catch on fire on their way home — the Huskies returned to Alaska Airlines Arena on Monday night to face a San Diego team that won 20 games last season.
Adding to the challenge? The 66-63 victory was the UW’s third game in a week.
“It was really scary, to be honest with you,” Hopkins said. “The staff, we were just trying to find energy. When we have energy and our defense is on, we’re pretty good. When it’s not, you’re trying to find it. You’re trying to generate it.”
The Huskies needed that energy, especially when their offense struggled through extended dry spells. The scoring droughts have been a common sight during the early part of the season.
UW had a 31-23 advantage with 2:30 left in the first half and looked to be heading toward a halftime lead. Then it failed to score again, which allowed the Toreros to take a 32-31 advantage into the break.
In the second half, it happened all over again.
The Huskies once again built an eight point lead, 55-47, thanks to Hameir Wright’s 3-pointer with 10:16 left in the game. But then UW didn’t hit another field goal until Noah Dickerson’s layup with 4:13 remaining. By that point, the Huskies needed the basket just to even the score, 59-59.