I was aboard an airplane bound for Phoenix during Washington’s 77-71 victory over Texas on Friday night in Shanghai (though it was actually Saturday morning there), so I can’t offer much (or anything at all) in the way of observations. But here’s a good-faith attempt to recap the action anyway.
Let’s start with the box score:
--- Some interesting numbers there. What immediately jumps out to me is both the poor shooting -- the teams combined to make just 5-for-35 from 3-point range and missed a total of 98 field-goal attempts and 33 free-throw attempts -- and the wild rebounding numbers. The Huskies out-rebounded Texas 62-49, and had six players with six or more rebounds. They also had 25 offensive rebounds and missed 46 field goals, so that’s obviously a pretty good percentage.
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--- Malik Dime had a big game off the bench, scoring 10 points and leading the team with 14 rebounds. Both Dime and reserve forward Devenir Duruisseau (seven points, seven rebounds) played important minutes with starting forwards Marquese Chriss and Noah Dickerson in foul trouble.
Via the Pac-12’s recap of the game, coach Lorenzo Romar said: “Those guys were sensational. With Marquese and Noah in foul trouble in the first half, and them having to play extended minutes against that front line with Texas, I thought they did a marvelous job of maintaining their composure.”
--- Fifth-year senior point guard Andrew Andrews didn’t shoot very well -- he made only 4-of-15 from the field -- but led the team with 23 points thanks to a 12-for-16 performance at the free-throw line. He also made a big 3-pointer to give the Huskies a four-point lead with a little more than three minutes to play.
“There's something about Andrew,” Romar said. “When the big shot is needed, he has the ability to knock it down. He's had the flair for the dramatic for a long, long time. He would be the one that we wanted to shoot that ball. That was a big, big shot.”
--- A pretty strange stat line for freshman guard Dejounte Murray: 8 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists ... and 9 turnovers. The Huskies committed 17 turnovers as a team, though Texas scored only six points off of them. The Huskies scored 14 points off the Longhorns’ 14 turnovers.
--- And you thought the 58 fouls called in UW’s exhibition game against Seattle Pacific were excessive: UW and Texas combined for 62 fouls on Friday night. Look for more games like that as officials continue to emphasize the NCAA’s bevy of rule changes.
--- The main takeaway: you could already safely assume that this young UW team would make a lot of mistakes this season, and the Huskies certainly had their share of miscues in Shanghai (turnovers, fouls, missed shots). But the fact that they were able to overcome them and win their season-opener on a neutral floor against Texas -- the Longhorns did return four starters from a team that made the NCAA tournament last season, and also hired Shaka Smart as head coach -- suggests that this season might hold a little more promise than originally thought.