Washington’s uncomfortable post-Thanksgiving feeling had nothing to do with gorging on turkey or missing out on a hot Black Friday sale.
The Huskies men’s basketball team could never really get away from Seattle. If UW went up by seven points, Seattle found a way to bringing it within one.
Eventually the Huskies (3-2) found breathing room. Freshman guard Jaylen Nowell would hit two late free throws and send UW to a 89-84 win over the Redhawks (2-4) on Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena.
“We just focused on moving the ball as a team and attacking them,” Nowell said. “They were in the bonus fairly early. We just made a point to just go at them.”
Nowell, who finished with a game-high 25 points, is showing he can handle late-game pressure. He hit a go-ahead shot in the team’s in the final 10 seconds of an exhibition game. Nowell also hit two decisive free throws in a 86-82 win over Belmont to open the year.
The former Garfield High star hit two more free throws with less than 33 seconds left for a 85-82 lead. On the following possession, the Huskies forced a steal and got the ball into Nowell’s hands.
He was fouled and drained both attempts for a 87-82 lead with 15 seconds left. Nowell ended the game by hitting two more foul shots for a 89-84 lead with 4.4 seconds remaining.
Nowell’s late-game heroics were a sign of things to come.
UW appeared to have found some separation when Nowell was fouled while hitting a jumper with 3:11 left to push the lead to 80-75. His free throw made it 81-75.
Then, as expected, Seattle cut the lead.
Redhawks forward Matej Kavas, while double teamed, drilled a 3-pointer off the wing and cut the lead to 81-78 on the following possession.
Seattle would trim the lead to 81-80 with 1:20 left before junior forward Noah Dickerson converted two free throws for a 83-80 edge with 1:07 remaining.
Kavas, with 53.4 seconds left, drove inside and hit a jumper outside the paint to bring his team within a point at 83-82.
“Tonight, our guys, they competed. Seattle gave us everything they had,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “Second half, they got hot from the 3-point line ... These guys found a way against a really tough opponent.”
About an hour before the game, the school announced freshman guard Michael Carter III would miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a fractured hand.
Carter was averaging 5.8 minutes per game through four games in a backup role.
Hopkins said the team has a few options. It can either use senior guard Dan Kingma to eat minutes or increase David Crisp’s time on the floor.
The Tacoma native played a game-high 39 minutes and also scored 16 points and three assists.
“I can go forever. I’m the Energizer Bunny,’ Crisp said with a grin. “I’m not tired at all. Whatever Hop needs me to do to help these guys get a win, I’m there.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark