Washington Basketball: 3 takeaways from SPU exhibition game 11/01

Matisse Thybulle, Washington Huskies. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Matisse Thybulle, Washington Huskies. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Thursday night the Washington basketball team played an exhibition game against Division II Seattle Pacific University. Here are our three takeaways.

Washington basketball played an exhibition game Thursday night. They beat Division II, Seattle Pacific University 70-61. Here are our three takeaways.

Huskies Offense

The Huskies offense started off well in the first half going up 11-0 mainly due to transitioning turnovers into points. Following the initial surge, Washington’s offense got bogged down and turned over the ball 15 times in the first half. Also, they went almost 14 minutes without scoring a point which allowed Seattle Pacific to get back into the game.

In fact, SPU was able to take the lead over the Huskies. A couple three-pointers by UW senior forward Matisse Thybulle put the Huskies ahead 27-26 at halftime. His first three-pointer was the one which ended the scoring drought.

The second half started out well for the Huskies, outscoring SPU 11-2 to take a 38-29 lead. The offense once again allowed Seattle Pacific get closer although the Huskies kept the lead. UW’s three-point shooting wasn’t very good, especially in the first half making only three out of 11 from beyond the arch.

Washington had 28 points in the paint however they still had trouble inside, probably because Noah Dickson only played 14 minutes overall including less than 2 minutes in the second half. Not sure whether he was hurt or not.

The Huskies should have tried putting up more shots inside against Seattle Pacific instead of shooting from the outside. It was a good part of the reason they didn’t score for those almost 14 minutes in the first half. That shows they still to improve that part of their game.

Zone Defense

Huskies Head Coach Mike Hopkins brought the zone, made famous at Syracuse where he had been an assistant. They play 2-3 zone which few teams are accustomed to playing against. As mentioned above it was a good reason the Huskies got off to big starts at the beginning of each half.

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The Huskies were able to get turnovers including four steals by Matisse Thybulle early on. Actually, he had eight steals total in the game. A good start for the defending  PAC-12 defensive player of the year.

The zone allows the Huskies to better defend the three-point shot along with generating turnovers. The other team can, at times, get easy inside shots, if they are able to figure out the zone, which Seattle Pacific did. They had 36 of their 61 points in the paint. The Huskies depend on their big men inside, to control the boards and their wings to guard the three on the outside.

Playing to the level of Competition

Seattle Pacific is an NCAA Division II school. They are far below the talent level of the teams Washington will play this season. The Huskies Showed Thursday that they need to step it for Western Kentucky on November 6th, not to mention the PAC-12.

Seattle Pacific, of course, played up to their competition as well. They had nothing to lose and wanted to put on a good show. The Huskies will need to improve on the offensive side of the ball well as keeping the other team from getting inside on them.

The beginning of each half Washington showed what they can do with the zone defense to put them up ahead, but they must continue playing with the same intensity all the way throughout the game. It will be their defense that allows the Huskies to win games, but the offense has to play their part as well working the ball inside. This is especially important when the outside shot isn’t going down.

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The Huskies play their first game that counts on November 6, when they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.