It was a second consecutive rough offensive outing for the University of Washington men’s basketball team which backed up a season-opening blowout loss to Baylor with another whimper in a 57-42 loss to UC Riverside in the Vegas Bubble on Tuesday.
Once again, the main struggles for the Huskies (0-2) came in the scoring column. Washington shot only 29.6% from the field including going 3-for-20 from beyond the arc and getting to the line for just 10 free throws.
“I felt like we got really good threes, we just couldn’t make them,” UW head coach Mike Hopkins said. “We got in transition a lot, we just couldn’t capitalize.”
With 9:03 left in the second half, senior guard Quade Green hit a jumper to trim the lead to six points at 44-38. That ended up being the last made field goal of the game for the Huskies, who managed to make just four free throws the rest of the way and missed their final 12 shots from the field.
Through the season’s first two games, Washington is currently sitting at 33% for total field goal shooting, but just 18.2% from long range. They’ve also given up 35 offensive rebounds to UCR and Baylor, combined.
“These guys are really good players, but looked a little bit zapped and looked like they lost a little bit of their confidence,” Hopkins said. “It’s our job to pick them back up.”
It’s the first time UW has started a season 0-2 since 2002, and the first time since 1983 that the Huskies have failed to reach 60 points in each of their first two games.
Green got the scoring started with an early bucket right out of the gate, but he would remain the only UW player to notch a field goal through the first 13:44 of game time as the Highlanders opened up a 19-10 lead.
At one point, the Dawgs turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions.
“I feel like in the first half, we were a little bit selfish, we weren’t moving the ball,” Hopkins said. “We looked slow.”
At halftime, Green was one of just four Huskies who had made a field goal and he was the only Washington player to hit a three-pointer. Meanwhile, UW racked up nine turnovers in the first half.
It’s not like the Highlanders shot the lights out themselves, it’s just that they gave themselves a few more chances. Riverside shot 37.5% in the first half and 34.5% in the second and made back-to-back shots just four times. But they won the battle on the offensive glass 14-5 and outscored UW 14-0 on second-chance points as they refused to let the game get close in the second half.
“Still trying to figure that out,” Green said, when asked how the Huskies could improve their rebounding while running a four-guard lineup.
Washington ended the game having gone three minutes or longer between points on five separate occasions. That included a scoreless run after Green’s last field goal that saw UC Riverside extend its lead back to double-digits, and run out the final 4:44 of the game.
Green finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists to lead the Huskies. Hameir Wright was the next-highest scorer with seven points, including going 1-of-10 from beyond the arc.
The Huskies have not yet had two players reach double figures in the same game this year.
“We need to play harder, it’s pretty simple,” Green said. “Play harder, and play as a team. We didn’t do that at all these last couple games.”
The Huskies will now leave Las Vegas and head to Utah, where they’re scheduled to face the Utes to open Pac-12 play Thursday.