SEATTLE (AP) — The real examination of how much progress Washington made during the nonconference portion of its schedule will come next month when Pac-12 play starts.
For now, the Huskies are content with the steps made in the past three victories, capped by Thursday night’s 94-72 win over city rival Seattle.
“We told our guys tonight we looked like a basketball team tonight at the defensive end and the offensive end. That hasn’t always been the case in this early season,” Washington coachLorenzo Romar said. “Again, progress.”
Washington’s most complete effort thus far was instigated by David Crisp hitting a career-high five 3-pointers and finishing with 16 points, and a dominant performance on the interior by Noah Dickerson. The sophomore forward led Washington (7-5) with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
Crisp was the catalyst for the second straight game. After scoring 21 points in a win over Cal Poly on Tuesday, the sophomore guard followed up by hitting 5 of 8 from behind the arc. Dickerson was a force on the inside making 5 of 8 shots and hitting 10 of 12 at the free-throw line. Dickerson even added the first 3-pointer of his career, finishing two points off his career high.
Star Washington freshman Markelle Fultz found himself in early foul trouble but finished with 18 points and six assists, and along with Crisp was able to help dictate the tempo of the game.
“We’re getting there,” Dickerson said. “I think there’s even more to us that you guys don’t even know.”
Brendan Westendorf led Seattle with 17 points, but the Redhawks (7-6) had a four-game win streak snapped. The Redhawks were looking for their first win over Washington since 1978 and the first since Seattle made its move back to Division I. Instead, it was a 12th straight loss overall in the series.
“Early on we scored pretty good, played inside out and uncharacteristic of us the ball started sticking a little bit,” Seattle coach Cameron Dollar said. “Sometimes you want it so bad that people try and make the play instead of keeping it moving and let it flow.”
Washington trailed 16-9 early and started the game just 3-of-14 shooting. They finished off the first half with a flourish, outscoring Seattle 32-14 over the final 12 minutes. Crisp got the rally started with a trio of 3-pointers and Washington scored the final nine points of the half, including a 3-pointer fromDominic Green just before the halftime buzzer for a 41-30 lead.
That run continued into the opening stages of the second half as Washington built its lead to as many as 23. Crisp was sharp from behind the 3-point line but was also excellent sharing the ball. Crisp’s fifth 3-pointer of the night gave Washington a 48-38 lead early in the second half and he followed with consecutive lobs to Fultz for highlight dunks as the Huskies extended their lead.
Fultz added a windmill dunk on a breakaway with 4:10 left to give Washington an 86-62 lead.
“I still don’t think we’re playing our best basketball,” Fultz said. “I think we still have a lot of stuff we need to work on. … We’re improving, I would say that, but I don’t think we’re where we should be.”
Washington: The Huskies were able to withstand early foul trouble from Fultz and when he returned Washington shared the ball with efficiency. The Huskies had a season-high 22 assists on 31 made field goals.
Seattle: The Redhawks got into trouble when 7-foot-3 center Aaron Menzies started picking up fouls. Menzies had three fouls in the first half and picked up his fourth in the opening moments of the second half limiting Seattle’s best option at slowing Dickerson. Menzies finished with nine points and three rebounds.
Washington will get an opportunity to show how much it’s improved with three straight at home to open Pac-12 play. Two of those are against Washington State and Oregon State who are a combined 11-14 so far, sandwiched around a matchup with No. 20 Oregon.
Washington: The Huskies are off until Jan. 1 when they open Pac-12 play hosting Washington State.
Seattle: The Redhawks host UC Davis next Wednesday.