SEATTLE – Washington finally got to enjoy an easy, lopsided victory thanks to its best defensive half of the season and a fatigued, travel-weary opponent.
David Crisp hit four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, Dominic Green added six 3s and 18 points off the bench, and Washington pulled away in the second half to beat travel-troubled Bethune-Cookman 106-55 on Tuesday night.
Washington (9-3) matched its entire win total from the 2016-17 season before the end of the nonconference schedule and for a change the Huskies cruised to an easy victory where even the deepest reserves got time on the floor. Four of Washington’s first eight wins had come by seven points or less, including last Sunday’s 80-77 win over Loyola Marymount.
“We’ve had a lot of games we’ve really had to grind it out,” Crisp said.
The Huskies blitzed the Wildcats with a huge second-half as the fatigue of two days of travel issues finally caught up with Bethune-Cookman. The second half became a stream of turnovers by the Wildcats and easy baskets for the Huskies. Washington outscored the Wildcats 63-19 in the second half as Bethune-Cookman committed 17 turnovers and shot 20 percent.
Jaylen Nowell added 15 points and Nahaziah Carter had 11 off the bench for the Huskies. It was the first 50-point victory for Washington since early in the 2010-11 season.
“To be a great team it needs to be led by your defense. It has to,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “We were just getting by and I thought the guys really responded and really executed and it ended up being our best offense.”
Isaiah Bailey led Bethune-Cookman (5-8) with 16 points and Brandon Tabb added 11. The Wildcats had major travel troubles getting to Seattle due to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport being crippled by a power outage on Sunday. The majority of Bethune-Cookman’s roster spent most of Tuesday traveling, starting the day in Nashville, with a connection in Denver and finally arriving in Seattle less than four hours before tip. Bethune-Cookman’s traveling party was supposed to all arrive in Seattle on Sunday.
“I thought our guys tried to compete in the first half,” Bethune-Cookman coach Ryan Ridder said. “Obviously we had some factors going against us with the travel. I thought we had a game plan the first half and we executed it. Unfortunately we just let it unravel in the second half.”
The Wildcats looked lethargic early, falling behind by 13 in the opening 11 minutes before a flurry of 3-pointers provided a jolt. The Wildcats went on a 25-13 scoring spurt to pull within 35-34 on Soufiyane Diakite’s driving basket with 3 minutes left in the half. Washington had one more surge to close the half and took a 43-36 lead at the break.
It proved to be the one time the Wildcats would threaten. Fatigue and sloppiness took over in the second half and Washington ran away.
“I feel like we really locked in, stopped messing around and being lackadaisical,” Crisp said. “Everybody stayed locked in on what they were supposed to do and did their job.”