Huskies Lose First Hoop Game of Season

Dan Raley

The Washington basketball team left the country to find some offense. They came back through customs with nothing to declare. Points are still a big problem.

In Toronto, the youthful Huskies struggled to put the ball in the basket once more and lost for the first time against the Tennessee Vols, falling 75-62 on Saturday night in the Naismith Hall of Fame Classic at Scotiabank Arena. 

In its three outings, 20th-ranked UW (2-1) has scored just 67, 56 and 62 points. 

Mike Hopkins' club looked tentative throughout against the Vols (3-0), unable to generate much rhythm. The talent is there. Cohesion is another story--an offensive identity is sorely lacking. 

"We've got a lot of young guys," Hopkins said. "We'll get better. These games are good for us."

Only Isaiah Stewart, Jaden McDaniels and Naz Carter scored in the first half, which ended with the UW trailing 40-28.

Stewart, who finished with 14 points, had 6 of his team's first 7 points and 8 of its first 13 as the Huskies rightfully looked for him down low. Yet he ran into early foul trouble and the UW was forced to play catch up, and the freshman post player was never a focal point of the offense again. 

Carter, collecting four dunks, led the Huskies with a team-best 18 points and chipped in 12 rebounds. McDaniels, while hitting just 5 of 17 shots, finished with 15. 

The Huskies shot  40 percent from the floor, 50 percent from the foul line. They hit just 27.8 percent from 3-point range.

Guards Quade Green and Hameir Wright fouled out as, as did McDaniels. 

The Huskies led only 1-0 and 3-2. Thereafter they were in a chase mode, trailing by as many as 14 to a mid-range SEC team in a rebuild. Jordan Bowden topped the Vols with 18 points, 15 in the first half.

"Our energy level was really low," Hopkins said. "Then they just started picking us apart."

The UW made one second-half run, creeping within 50-43 with 11:23 left to play. Reserve Sam Timmons, the team's lone senior, contributed a putback and a dunk during the brief rally. 

The Huskies will have an opportunity to work things out and maybe play more people in the upcoming week. They have three home games against less stellar opponents over the next eight days. The UW hosts Maine on Tuesday, Montana on Friday and San Diego next Sunday. 

"They've got to just stay positive and go out there and get better," Hopkins said of his players.