Since Washington’s 95-83 overtime victory over Arizona State last night began at 8:10 p.m., lasted nearly three hours and was not particularly friendly to the deadlines of the folks writing about the game for publication, I figured I’d spill a few more thoughts on the craziness here.
--- Dejounte Murray had the best game by a freshman in UW history. He set the Huskies’ single-game freshman scoring record with 34 points (on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 14-of-18 from the free-throw line) and grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with six assists. The previous freshman scoring record was 32 points by Nigel Williams-Goss in 2013-14.
According to UW, Murray is the only freshman guard to post at least 34 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in a game this year. One other freshman -- LSU star Ben Simmons, the near-certain No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft -- has assembled that kind of stat line in a game this season (43 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists against North Florida), but Simmons is listed as a forward.
Murray kept the Huskies in the game during that ugly first half, scoring 13 points during a time when nobody else could make a shot. And he obviously came up big in the second half, too, before scoring UW’s first two baskets in overtime and fouling out.
He did all that despite tweaking his left ankle early in the second half. But he played through it and said it felt better after he got it taped.
Asked if there was something in ASUs scheme that allowed him to get going, Murray replied: “I don’t know. I ain’t in their locker room. I just went out and tried to do what I do.”
Said UW coach Lorenzo Romar: “Our offense is, space the floor. If they don’t pick you up, we kick the ball. We practice it all the time. In this particular instance, he was able to get there. He is so shifty with the basketball and he was able to get all the way to the rim. They would bring a guy up to help but the floor was spaced, so he was able to even get by the guy that helped.”
--- Murray’s stellar play helped compensate for another off night by Andrew Andrews, the Pac-12’s leading scorer. Andrews finished with 13 points on 2-of-13 shooting and didn’t make his first field goal until overtime. He was 1-for-7 from 3-point range, and is now just 4-of-19 from beyond the arc (and 12-for-47 from the field) in his last four games.
Andrews did make a pair of important shots in overtime, a 3-pointer and a 2-point jumper on consecutive possessions that pushed UW’s lead from four to nine points. Romar didn’t seem too concerned about his star guard’s slump.
“I can’t remember a year that Andrew’s been here that at some point in conference he hasn’t gone through a little mini-slump, but man, when he breaks out of that slump, he’s been nails,” Romar said. “So it wouldn’t be a problem with me at all if he breaks out of it on Saturday.”
--- Once again: the Huskies are a different team when Marquese Chriss stays out of foul trouble. The freshman played only one minute in Wednesday’s first half because he picked up two quick fouls, but avoided foul trouble in the second half -- he actually finished with only three fouls -- and wound up with 19 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field and a couple of important baskets in the final minutes of regulation. He played 23 minutes total.
“It definitely made a difference to have our guys in there,” Romar said. “We told Marquese, ‘Marquese, when you are in the game, it makes our team so much better.’ He goes 7-for-7 in the game … He just made some big plays for us.”
--- ASU guard Tra Holder lit the Huskies up for 12 points on four 3-pointers in the first half, but Romar credited a defensive adjustment for slowing him -- and the rest of the Sun Devils -- in the second. They shot 60 percent before halftime and only 31 percent after. Holder finished with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
“We were just too tentative, and we were playing off of him, then we played on him and he drove, we helped off and they found people,” Romar said. “But like I said, we adjusted in the second half and played it slightly differently and that was the difference for us.”
--- Malik Dime blocked three more shots to increase his season total to 63. He needs 22 more blocks to tie the UW single-season record, set last season by Robert Upshaw (in just 19 games). The Huskies have at least nine games remaining, so if Dime maintains his season average of 2.86 blocks per game, he’ll get there.
--- As for the officiating -- 60 fouls, 75 free throws, five player disqualifications, three video reviews that lasted 14 minutes total -- Romar and ASU coach Bobby Hurley both essentially declined to discuss it, which probably says enough on its own. Andrews offered a pretty reasoned take when asked about it:
“I’m not one to sit up here and talk about the refs. Refereeing is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but I mean, something has to change,” Andrews said. “There was a lot of complaining (on) both sides of the benches. I didn’t think it was one-sided. Arizona State probably felt the same way with what players were saying on the court. Coach Romar does a good job of telling us to play through it. No matter what, it’s still basketball. You’ve still got to play the game. Just don’t let it affect you.”
--- Speaking of Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. game against Arizona, a UW spokesperson said that fewer than 800 tickets remain, and the school is expecting a sellout. It would be the first sellout at Hec Ed since the Huskies’ Feb. 18, 2012 victory over Arizona.
Here are the video highlights from the game:
And the radio highlights from play-by-play man Bob Rondeau.
And some UW game notes, provided by UW sports information:
-- The last time the Huskies played in 4 overtime games was the 1999-2000 season
-- The Huskies have forced 10 or more turnovers in all 22 games this season
-- UW is 4-2 in Pac-12 play when trailing at the half
-- UW held Arizona State scoreless over 4 minutes and 1 second in the first half and over 2 minutes and 57 seconds in the second half
-- UW took its first lead of the game at 7:45 in the second half
-- Career high 34 points (prev. 29 vs. USC, 1/3/16)
-- 7th freshman in the NCAA to score 34 or more points in a single game
-- Had his 2nd double-double of the season, with 34 points and 11 rebounds
-- Had his 15th game of the season with 10+ points
-- 5th game of the season with 20 or more points
-- Scored 8 straight UW points from 1:39 in the first half
-- Had his 21st game of the season with 10 or more points
-- Moved into 4th place in single-season blocks with 63 (tied with Chris Welp, 1986-87)
-- 14th game with 10+ points
-- 5th game of the season with 10 or more points
And some additional quotes from Hurley, who again had effusive praise for Murray.
(You got off to a good start, you hit shots, just everything but the end there. What do you take away from this?) “We had a strong message at halftime about a 40-minute game and I’ve watched a lot of film on Washington and they don’t give in. They have comeback from big deficits and they play to the bitter end. They are going to make runs because they have a lot of talent. We knew they would come at us. We didn’t match their energy in the first eight minutes so they were able to seize control and get back into it when we had the lead. From there, we fought really hard but we just didn’t play offense like we did in the first half and that hurt us. Their individual players are just…the kid Murray is good. He is as good as I’ve seen off of the dribble as anyone I’ve seen this year. We had no answers for him. No one could stop him. The other athletes they have with Chriss and those guys. We didn’t have anyone left either to play in the game. We are in that overtime with a lineup that I don’t think we have ever had on the court. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy in overtime.”
(Fatigue? Do you think you guys just ran out of gas there?) “Yeah, and we just didn’t have their size. Even when they missed or they didn’t get to the free throw line they fouled her up because they are just bigger and more athletic than we were at that point. The guys played heavy minutes that were in there. We just didn’t have anything more to offer.”
(How hard was it to keep the game in a rhythm with all of the whistles?) “I am going to refrain from discussing that. You know there were a lot of things that went on. I am surprised that we had that many players foul out but credit to Washington for how aggressively they drive the ball. It was a complete flip in terms of free throw margin from our last game. That is a lot of foul shots, 45, to overcome in a game.”
(What did you guys try to do to stop Andrews?) “Trey did a nice job moving his feet and staying in front. We contested his shots and we understood how good he was and we gave him the appropriate attention. We tried to be more aggressive in ball screen defense and not give him a down hill coming off of ball screen that he could turn the corner and make plays off of.”
(Are you worried about the confidence level?) “I haven’t been in this many games where we haven’t been able to push through. That frustration is going to be there because we haven’t closed these games. We just didn’t have a guy like Murray out there. When you have a player like him that is so talented and so gifted that can make the plays that he can make it is hard for us to match that.”
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple