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UW Huskies 64, Colorado Buffaloes 55 2-23-19 game recap

As Matisse Thybulle walked to the bench after fouling out late in Washington’s 64-55 victory over Colorado, the sellout crowd inside Alaska Airlines Arena climbed to its feet to give him a standing ovation.

Minutes after the game ended, Thybulle shared a long embrace with head coach Mike Hopkins on the sideline. Then, after a television interview, Thybulle jogged off the court to another standing ovation, this one from the dozens of students still lingering in the stands. As he headed toward the tunnel, Thybulle raised his hands in acknowledgment.

Thybulle, a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, earned the extra attention with another eye-popping stat line: 17 points, six steals, five blocks and three rebounds … all in just 24 minutes.

With Thybulle leading the way, the Huskies clinched at least a share of the Pac-12 regular season championship. They can claim the title outright with a win over Cal on Thursday.

Thybulle’s teammates seem to be running out of words to describe his performances. His numbers against Colorado had fellow senior Dominic Green scrambling for adjectives.

“If I would say anything,” Green said finally, “I would say that’s ridiculously impressive. Sometimes, I’m running back and I’m like, ‘Where’s everybody at?’ I would just see him with the ball out of nowhere and I’m like, ‘Oh.’ That’s starting to get a little normal, you know.”

But what’s normal for Thybulle isn’t normal for other players, so Hopkins has to look outside the box for people to compare him to. In the past, he’s been Spiderman, the boogeyman. After Saturday’s game, Hopkins likened him to Carl Lewis for his steal and ensuing sprint down the floor to collect the ball for a dunk. There was some David Copperfield in there, too, Hopkins said.

Sometimes, he’s just magic.

“You don’t know where he’s at,” Hopkins said. “He goes invisible and then he’s behind you. You just don’t know where he’s at. He’s incredible. He’s got a gift. He does something better than anybody does in the country. 

“He had a great offensive game tonight, too. He’s just a heck of a player…. Defensively, he wears different cloth out there.”

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