SEATTLE – Jaylen Nowell scored 13 points, Hameir Wright added 11 points and five rebounds off the bench, and Washington overcame a sloppy effort to hold off Montana 66-63 on Friday night.
The Huskies (10-3) topped their entire win total from last year before the start of Pac-12 Conference play, which begins next week. But getting that 10th win wasn’t easy as the Huskies had just one field goal over the final 7 1/2 minutes but made just enough free throws to hold off the Grizzlies.
Montana had its chances late to pull off its second upset of a power conference team on the road this season. The Grizzlies won at Pittsburgh to open the season, but scored just one point in the final 4:14.
Ahmaad Rorie led Montana (7-5) with 19 points and Jamar Akoh added 17, but the Grizzlies only point in the final four minutes came on Michael Oguine’s free throw with 5.2 seconds left.
Oguine hit the first free throw but left the second on the front rim that could have pulled the Grizzlies even. Washington got the rebound and Matisse Thybulle hit two free throws in the final moments to seal the victory.
Washington won its sixth straight in the series. Montana’s last victory over the Huskies came in 1994 in a game played in Missoula.
Washington had every chance to pull away and could never create enough of a cushion to be comfortable. Akoh’s rebound follow basket and Rorie’s driving layup with 5:03 remaining pulled the Grizzlies within 61-60. Akoh grabbed another offensive rebound on Montana’s next possession and his basket underneath gave the Griz their first lead since late in the first half.
Nowell answered with a 15-footer with 3:01 left and it was the last made shot by either team. Montana appeared to take the lead on Oguine’s driving layup with 1:13 left, but he was called for an offensive foul. Washington was called for a shot-clock violation – its third straight possession with a turnover – and the Griz had the ball with 43 seconds left down one.
Rorie got into the lane as the shot clock was winding down, but his driving attempt was challenged and missed with 17 seconds left. Washington got the rebound and Crisp was fouled. Crisp made 1 of 2 free throws for a 64-62 lead and then fouled Oguine at the other end with 5 seconds left.