The Washington Huskies faced a rather large test on Thursday as they traveled to Tuscan to take on the Arizona Wildcats. Normally a house of horrors for the Dawgs, this year the tables have turned as the Huskies were favorites to win this game. And they did not fail to impress as the Purple and Gold pulled off a 67-60 statement win.
The Huskies defense that forced 20 turnovers was led by Matisse Thybulle who had 5 steals and 5 blocked shots on the day. The stifling zone held Arizona to just 37 % from the field and 22% from 3 point land. This shouldn’t be too startling as they held opponents all year to just 28% shooting 3 pointers.
Neither team was at full strength as the Cats were down their best player, freshman Brandon Williams and the Huskies had inside presence Noah Dickerson on limited availability. That didn’t seem to matter as much as the Dawgs played as a team as they have all season earning their 10th straight PAC12 victory.
The Huskies got another strong outing by David Crisp as he led the team with 17 points. The senior from Tacoma has been instrumental all season as a complimentary scorer; but, over the last 5 games, he has averaged 16 points per game and really put the Dawgs on his shoulders.
Not to be outdone, Thybulle had 15 points to supplement his defense and there is quite a bit of conversation about the senior being PAC12 Player of the Year. He is ranked #2 in the NCAA with steals per game with 3.23 per game and is also garnering attention as a candidate for the Naismith Defensive Player of the year, awarded to the best defender in the NCAA.
Up next is the Arizona State Sun Devils on Sunday. If the Huskies can take this game they will have for the 1st time in school history gone 11-0 in the PAC12. That win would give them a 5 game lead over ASU and a potential 3-4 game lead over Oregon State as the Dawgs head towards March Madness.