Ask Washington point guard David Crisp and he’ll tell you open 3-pointers are like layups for Dominic Green. That’s why he never doubts his teammate will knock them down.
“I don’t ever think he’s going to miss,” Crisp said.
During UW’s 83-59 victory over Eastern Washington on Tuesday night, Crisp was almost always right. Green scored a career-high 25 points, finishing 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.
The seven 3-pointers tied for the second-most in a game in UW history. Ryan Appleby hit nine 3-pointers against Oregon State in 2008. It was a career-high total for Green, who hit six threes against Bethune Cookman last season.
Green, who averaged just 6.7 points per game in the Vancouver Showcase and was held scoreless in the loss to Minnesota, had a 14 points at the break. He finished the game 9-of-13 from the field.
“I thought in some of our earlier games, (Green) had been open and we hadn’t found him,” said head coach Mike Hopkins. “Tonight we found him.”
Green gave some of the credit to the pregame meal: Spaghetti and meatballs, his favorite. He also found himself more open than he’s been for much of this season. Eastern Washington tended to collapse when the Huskies drove to the basket. When that happened, UW hit Green on the perimeter.
“That would really open it up,” Green said, “and they turned their heads. When you see your man turn their head, you’ve got to relocate. I was just getting wide-open shots.”
More often than not, Green was left open in the same spot. The corner. He noticed, and he just kept hitting the shot.
“They’re not a bad team but I feel like they just fell asleep,” Green said. “I feel like sometimes coming in, if I have a really bad game before, I’m not really on the radar as much. … When they’re worried about (other) guys, it just lets me roam around and find the open spot.”
During his press conference on Monday, Hopkins emphasized the importance of players other than Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson contributing as scorers. Matisse Thybulle should put up between 10 and 15 points a night, he said. And while it’s difficult for a known shooter like Green to get open, the Huskies needed to run more plays for him.
Recent shooting struggles were a concern, Hopkins said, but that would work itself out. UW has been taking good shots; eventually they would fall.
Hopkins’ prediction came true on Tuesday night as the Huskies shot 51.9 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
As for more balanced scoring? UW got that, too. With Dickerson sitting out the first half with an illness — he still scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds in 11 minutes — his teammates filled the void.
David Crisp and Nahziah Carter were also in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Thybulle didn’t get 10, but he was close. He finished with eight points, three rebounds, two steals and three blocks.
Nowell was there, too, of course. He nearly had a triple-double with eight points, seven assists and nine rebounds.
“We always talk about that,” Crisp said of UW’s balance. “If the ball’s moving, it can be anybody’s night. We got to stay unselfish. We always have to make sure we’re playing good basketball, making the right plays. Drive in, guy helps in, kick out to the open man. It’s easy. You saw that tonight.”
The key, Hopkins said, is ball movement. That was often lacking for the Huskies in Vancouver, but it wasn’t an issue on Tuesday night.
“Dom Green, everybody knows what type of shooter he is,” Hopkins said. “Today we just had more awareness. The ball was popping. We got really good looks. Matisse looked great. David looked great. The ball found the open man. Unfortunately for them, it was Dominic Green.”
By the under-16 timeout in the first half, UW had built a 14-4 lead. The Huskies started 4-for-4 from the 3-point line, getting a three each from Green and Thybulle and two from Crisp. They led 35-25 at halftime.
Next up, the Huskies will face UC Santa Barbara at home on Sunday at 5 p.m.