SEATTLE – Mattise Thybulle and the Washington Huskies turned the long-range tables on cross-state rival Washington State.
Thybulle scored 18 points and freshman Jaylen Nowell added 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds to pace the Huskies to an 80-62 victory over Washington State in a Pac-12 Conference game on Sunday.
Washington State, which entered second in the nation and first in the Pac-12 with 11.9 3-pointers per game, was just 6 of 24 beyond the arc against Washington’s zone defense. The Huskies, on the other hand, were 11 of 25 from 3-point range, including three by Thybulle.
“One of their strengths, why they beat Saint Mary’s and San Diego State, is they shoot the 3-ball,” said first-year Washington coach Mike Hopkins, who has installed the zone he learned as a long-time assistant at Syracuse. “And, one of our things that we try to do is say we’re going to take away that strength. And we were able to execute that tonight.”
Washington (15-6, 5-3) used an 18-0 run to open a 45-30 halftime lead, but the Cougars answered with a 14-4 run to start the second half, pulling within 49-44 on a jumper by Viont’e Daniels. Thybulle was fouled on a 3-pointer and added the free throw to push the lead to 53-44.
The Huskies extended the lead to 61-44 as Washington State went scoreless for almost 6 1/2 minutes. David Crisp’s 3-pointer with 4:47 left put Washington up 76-52.
“We took some tough shots when we could have made that extra pass against that zone,” said Washington State coach Ernie Kent. “You’ve got to move it, you’ve got to get in the gaps, you’ve got to give the zone different looks. It can’t just be a three every time. And, consequently when you don’t start making those shots, all of a sudden the game got away from us.”
Robert Franks had 16 points and Drick Bernstine added 13 for the Cougars (9-11, 1-7).
Noah Dickerson added 13 points and Nahziah Carter 11 for Washington. Thybulle also had six of Washington’s 20 assists and four steals.
“At the end of the day, the bottom line is if we bring our energy and we execute what we need to do on defense, we’re going to cause a lot of problems for any team,” said Thybulle. “I think today that we did a really good job of executing our coach’s game plan, which was spot on.”
Washington shot 60 percent in the first half, and overall made 30 of 56 shots (53 percent).
“As a coach, you’re trying to get your best players high percentage shots and sometimes that takes work and movement,” Hopkins said. “I thought our movement was good. I thought the guys had the extra pass and we’ve got good shooters.”
The Huskies appeared to gain control with the 18-point run late in the first half. The Cougars, who trailed by as many as seven early, went in front 28-27 on a 3-pointer by Daniels with 9:05 left in the half. Nowell answered with a jumper to trigger the spurt, which included three consecutive 3-pointers by Dominic Green.
Thybulle capped the run with a breakaway jam to make it 45-28 with 51 seconds left in the half.
Franks’ layup with 32 seconds left in the half snapped the Cougars scoring drought of more than 4 1/2 minutes. Washington State made just one of its final 11 field-goal attempts of the half.