SEATTLE – Each time the Washington Huskies seemed to be on the verge of pulling away, Loyola Marymount countered – right up until the final minute.
Jaylen Nowell hit an off-balance jumper with 30 seconds left as the shot clock was winding down to give Washington a four-point lead, and the Huskies held on for an 80-77 victory against LMU on Sunday.
Nowell, who led Washington with 21 points, said he didn’t have any question the jumper was going in.
“I always have confidence in my shot,” Nowell said. “I don’t really have doubts.”
Noah Dickerson scored 13 of his 20 points in the final five minutes as Washington fought to take and hold the lead. The teams went back and forth throughout the game, and Loyola Marymount led with three minutes to go.
We just can’t keep putting ourselves in those situations,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “There’s so many times we get up seven or we make a great run and we just give it back.”
James Batemon scored a season-high 29 points for LMU (5-5). Steven Haney had 14 points and Cameron Allen added 12 for the Lions.
Washington big man Sam Timmons had nine points and a season-high 11 rebounds before fouling out with five minutes to play.
Washington trailed 34-28 at halftime, going more than seven minutes without a field goal – on 0-for-11 shooting – to end the first half.
Washington turned it around quickly in the second half, going on an early 11-0 run featuring three dunks and a 3-pointer by Nowell.
The flow of the game was choppy at times, as the teams combined for 53 fouls. Three Loyola Marymount players fouled out. Despite having plenty of opportunities, both teams also struggled at the foul line – Washington shot 61 percent on free throws, and the Lions made 60 percent.
Loyola Marymount: This was the second time this season the Lions lost a close game against a Pac-12 opponent. Loyola Marymount fell 78-74 at Oregon State on Dec. 2.
Washington: The Huskies were coming off a pair of big games – an upset of then-No. 2 Kansas on Dec. 6 and a loss to No. 12 Gonzaga on Dec. 10 – and seemed to struggle with energy at times against the Lions.
“Early in the game, our lack of energy, you could just feel it. You could see we needed a spark,” Hopkins said.
“Bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep.” – Hopkins, when asked what he told the team at halftime after going into the locker room after missing its final 11 first-half shots.
Loyola Marymount will finish its nonconference schedule at home Friday against Cal State Fullerton.
Washington plays the third of four straight home games Tuesday against Bethune-Cookman.