SEATTLE – Not a whole lot went right for the Huskies on Sunday night.
The Washington men’s basketball team couldn’t hit free throws, misfired on three-pointers and Nevada’s Kenan Blackshear overshadowed UW’s dynamic tandem of Keion Brooks Jr. and Sahvir Wheeler.
With Blacksheer tallying a game-high 31 points, six rebounds and five assists, the Wolf Pack beat the Huskies 83-76 at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Brooks rebounded from a slow start and finished with 19 points – including 13 in the second half – and 11 rebounds while Wheeler had 14 points, five assists and five rebounds before fouling out after picking up a technical foul with 5½ minutes left.
Nate Calmese added 11 points off the bench for Washington, which lost for the first time this season and fell to 2-1.
The Huskies trailed for more than 39 minutes. They shot nine of 21 on free throws and seven of 24 three-pointers.
And yet, UW’s new offense wasn’t always the biggest problem.
The Huskies had difficulty slowing down the Wolf Pack, particularly Blackshear who converted 12 of 22 field goals and hit seven of 10 free throws.
Nevada sank 21 of 26 at the charity stripe, which proved to be the difference in the seven-point game.
In the opening minutes, Wheeler drove baseline and drew two defenders before dishing to Brooks who flew down an open lane and flushed a vicious dunk that drew a huge roar from the crowd.
Otherwise, it was a quiet first half offensively for UW’s leading scorer who entered the game first in the Pac-12 and sixth nationally while averaging 27.0 points per game.
Without meaningful point production from Brooks, Calmese and Wheeler combined for 18 points to carry the Huskies, who trailed 41-30 at halftime.
It’s not as if Washington’s offense sputtered at the start. The Huskies shot a respectable 44% from the field, but they were undermined by woeful three-point shooting (5 of 15) and seven turnovers that led to nine points.
Nevada built a 15-point lead (54-39) with 13:51 remaining when Washington went on an 11-4 run to cut its deficit to 58-50 at the 11:22 mark.
The Huskies made one more comeback attempt and trailed 75-68 with 3:13 left, but couldn’t get any closer.
Washington travels to Las Vegas for Friday’s matchup against Xaxier (2-0) in the Continental Tire Main Event.