EditorsNote: Tweak to lede to eliminate possible conflict with second graf
Noah Dickerson scored 16 of his 18 points after halftime as No. 25 Washington beat visiting Western Kentucky 73-55 Tuesday night in the season opener for both programs.
Ranked in the preseason AP poll for the first time since 2010-11, the Huskies started fast but ended the first half slowly by missing their last 10 shots. The Hilltoppers were in front 36-27 at the break.
Dickerson was limited to six first-half minutes due to picking up three fouls, and Washington’s offense struggled without its second-leading scorer from last season.
After halftime, Dickerson helped the Huskies surge ahead by asserting himself in the low post while knocking down a few jumpers. He made 5 of 7 shots and 6 of 8 free throws in the final 20 minutes.
The Huskies took the lead for good at 50-48 on a mid-range jumper by David Crisp with 10:59 left. Dickerson scored eight points over the next five-plus minutes and gave the Huskies a 60-50 lead with a nifty double-pump layup against Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey.
Jaylen Nowell added 17 points for the Huskies, who shot 53.6 percent in the second half while outscoring the Hilltoppers 46-19. Crisp contributed 13 points overall while Matisse Thybulle chipped in with nine points and six blocked shots.
Western Kentucky forced Washington into 10 consecutive missed shots and two turnovers over the final 5 1/2 minutes of the first half but missed a chance to record its first road win over a ranked team since beating then-No. 4 Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2001.
Jared Savage led Western Kentucky with 15 points while Taveion Hollinsworth added 14. They combined to shoot 10 of 27 as Western Kentucky hit just 37.7 percent from the floor.
Washington held a 27-19 lead on a hoop by Nahziah Carter but went ice cold, allowing 17 straight points in the final 5:39 of the half. Western Kentucky took a 36-27 lead on Savage’s third 3-pointer with 26 seconds left before intermission.
Washington responded to the drought by scoring the first 13 points of the second half but did not pull away until the final seven minutes.
—Field Level Media