As of right now, the Washington Huskies are tied for the best overall record in the Pac-12.
UW (13-4, 3-1 Pac-12) also moved into a conference tie for second with a 66-56 win over California on Thursday at the Alaska Airlines Arena.
Enough went right for a Huskies win. But there were also some shaky moments too.
Anyone who heard Huskies coach Mike Hopkins say, “I didn’t think we played well tonight” may have been caught off guard.
Washington did just win a conference game and shot 50 percent in the field from the process. But for Hopkins, a defensive-minded tactician, this is why he wasn’t pleased.
The Huskies committed 20 turnovers and from those errors, the Golden Bears scored 21 points. As Hopkins pointed out in his press conference, Cal’s first eight points came from turnovers.
Extra points are the most glaring error from committing a high amount of turnovers. But there are a few things to consider too.
Cal picked up 52 shot attempts and that was eight more than UW. If the Golden Bears do better than shooting 42.3 percent, it’s possible this may have had a different outcome.
Turnovers doomed UW in a loss to Providence earlier this season. In fact, it’s been something of an issue all season.
Washington averages 14.3 turnovers which is tied for 240th out of 351 teams. Cal, Colorado, Stanford and Washington State are the only Pac-12 teams averaging more turnovers this season.
It didn’t cost the Huskies this time, but it could in the future.
FOULS AND FOUL TROUBLE
Couple ways to attack this.
Hopkins made another point about Cal not knocking down their free throws and how that played a role in UW’s win.
He’s right. The Golden Bears were 7 of 17 for 41.2 percent from the line. If they make at least seven more free throws, this could have been a different game near the end.
That also leads into how UW is picking up quite a few fouls as of late.
UW’s depth was tested last week against WSU when junior forward Noah Dickerson fouled out about midway though the second half. It forced Hopkins to use guard Carlos Johnson as a faux power forward in a move that worked.
Plus, the Huskies had two players — Jaylen Nowell and Matisse Thybulle — who played the rest of the WSU game with four fouls.
Move ahead to Thursday. Washington was called for 17 fouls and Thybulle played with four. Dickerson picked up two early fouls but finished the game with three.
For those wondering, the Huskies are averaging 18.9 fouls and that ranks 211th. Over the last three games, they’re averaging 20 fouls per contest.
YOUTH WAS SERVED
As expected, there was fallout from when UW fired Lorenzo Romar and the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation broke apart.
Hopkins and his staff would piece together what 247 Sports deemed America’s No. 26 recruiting class.
Funny story. All four of them were on the court at one point against Cal. Anchored by Dickerson, the group provided a glimpse of what’s to come.
Nowell led UW with 20 points and has continued to serve in a role as this team’s leading scorer.
Forward Nahziah Carter came off the bench and led the second unit with 10 points. He had a few moments when he asserted himself.
Naz Carter shot 4 of 6 for 10 points in 14 minutes. Perhaps his signature moment came when he broke out a Eurostep and scored in the lane for a 59-43 lead.
Hameir Wright may have only scored two points but he got four rebounds and actually had a game-high four assists in 23 minutes.
For freshman point guard Michael Carter III, this was his second game back from a wrist injury. Michael Carter scored 3 points but played 16 minutes to give the Huskies another option to run the offense.
In all, it led to the Huskies’ bench outscoring the Golden Bears’ unit 18-2.
Ryan Clark: @ryan_s_clark