At first, Washington’s 70-61 exhibition game victory over Seattle Pacific went as expected.
The No. 25 Huskies opened on an 11-0 run at Alaska Airlines Arena on Thursday night and looked like they would cruise to a substantial halftime advantage. Instead, UW went on a scoring drought that lasted from the 13:33 mark to Matisse Thybulle’s 3-pointer with 7:01 remaining in the first half.
By that point, Seattle Pacific had rattled off 15 straight points. Even after Thybulle broke the scoring run, the Falcons still had a 21-18 lead. They went into the break with a 27-26 advantage.
UW outscored Seattle Pacific 11-2 at the start of the second half to pull ahead 37-29. But the Huskies continued to struggle offensively and allowed the Falcons back into the game.
With 8:34 remaining, Seattle Pacific was leading 47-46. That’s when the Huskies went on another 11-2 run, this time pulling way for good.
Jaylen Nowell led the way with 23 points and six rebounds, while David Crisp had 20 points.
Coming into the game, head coach Mike Hopkins said assists were an area UW needed to focus on improving this season. But at the end of the first half, UW had 13 turnovers and just three assists.
After opening with 11 consecutive points, the Huskies offense often looked stagnant in the first half. Their early baskets started with defensive rebounds that led to fast breaks.
As Seattle Pacific starting grabbing more offensive rebounds — it had a 7-4 advantage at halftime — UW slowed down and started struggling on offense. Meanwhile, the Falcons took advantage of the turnovers to score 15 points.
Seven of the 11 UW players that saw the floor in the first half had at least one turnover. The Huskies only had six turnovers in the second half.
UW finished the game with just six assists and 19 turnovers.
Stealing the game
Thybulle was the 2018 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and it was easy to see why on Thursday.
Thybulle had five steals in 18 first-half minutes against Seattle Pacific. He added another three steals afer the break.
Crisp and Nowell were the starting guards, while Sam Timmins, Noah Dickerson and Thybulle started at forward. Dominic Green and Nahziah Carter were the first players off the bench.
Nowell, Crisp, Thybulle, Green and Timmins started in UW’s first exhibition game against Nevada. Dickerson didn’t play in that game because of an injury.
Freshmen Nate Roberts and Elijah Hardy saw the floor for the first time after not playing against the Wolf Pack. Fellow freshmen Bryan Penn-Johnson and Jamal Bey played in both exhibitions.
The exhibition was UW’s final tune-up before the regular season begins against Western Kentucky at Alaska Airlines Arena on Nov. 6.