David Crisp and Nahziah Carter were having fun, that much was clear during Washington’s 69-53 victory over Utah on Thursday night.
Afterward, they walked out of the Huskies’ locker room with matching grins, leaned against a wall inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center and talked about feeding off each other’s energy. All the while, they did their best to deflect praise to the other player.
“He came out hot,” Carter said of Crisp. “He got dagger shots to quiet out the crowd. As he’s being hot, I just tried to get open and then I got the ball to knock down shots. Once I got hot, everybody was just making shots at that point.”
Beside him, Crisp shook his head, smiling as Carter talked. Asked if he was feeding off Carter, too, Crisp said they were talking to each other all night.
“I was like, ‘You trying to catch me?’” Crisp said.
Carter did eventually catch — and pass — Crisp during the Huskies victory. Crisp led UW with 14 points at the break and finished with 17 points, four assists and four steals. Carter had a team-high and career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
During the first half, Crisp made four straight 3-pointers. Head coach Mike Hopkins recalled a moment early on when he considered giving Crisp a break. But before he could pull him out of the game, Crisp drained another shot. An assistant coach told Hopkins to let him be.
“He’s just that guy,” Hopkins said. “He’s just rhythm.”
While Crisp and Carter finished with 35 of UW’s 69 points, the Huskies usual leading scorers were mostly absent from that column. Jaylen Nowell, who averages 17.3 points per game, had just six points but grabbed 12 rebounds. Noah Dickerson had 13 points, just below his 14.5 point average, but was held scoreless in the first half.
“We’re growing and we’re getting better,” Hopkins said. “You start getting contributions from seven, eight, nine guys, it’s going to be a big thing going forward. … The things about really great teams is it’s going to be a different guy every night.”
Crisp and Carter led UW to a 38-30 advantage at the break.
The Huskies then scored the first seven points of the second half to extend their lead to 45-30. But the Utes made a run after that, climbing their way back into the game with a 12-2 run that cut UW’s advantage to five points.
The Huskies immediately responded to the pressure, launching a 12-0 run of their own that pushed the score back to 59-42. Crisp and Carter each had a 3-pointer during that stretch, and Carter added a dunk and a jumper. By the time it was finished, the game was won. The Utes never got within single digits again.
Crisp’s performance against Utah was a continuation of his outing against Washington State when he scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Huskies to victory.
Before the start of conference play, Crisp hadn’t scored more than 13 points in any game this season. Asked if there was any difference in his senior point guard lately, Hopkins said he’s been the “same old David.”
“I was a little disappointed because I know how good of a shooter he is,” Hopkins said. “He’s had moments. … He’s running our team. Now, it’s like the balance of running our team and doing that and finding some spots (to score). He can do that.”
Crisp said it’s recently started to sink in that this is his final season with UW. He’s determined to make it count.
“It really hit me when we got into conference games like, man, it’s my last go-round,” he said. “It’s my last conference season. I was like, I’m not going to let anything get in the way of this team not getting to the goals we set early in the year. It’s one game at a time, trying to get a win every night.”