University of Washington

For Huskies basketball team, it’s a good news, bad news kind of day

Washington's Jaylen Nowell, left, turns one way as Seattle's Jordan Hill tumbles behind. Nowell scored 25 points to lead UW to the win.
Washington's Jaylen Nowell, left, turns one way as Seattle's Jordan Hill tumbles behind. Nowell scored 25 points to lead UW to the win. AP

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