Losing became far too routine for this University of Washington basketball team until it stopped.
Yet individual point-production has been, and remains, a season-long revelation.
Every couple of games, someone different throws down a career high for the Huskies — often by a lot.
Last Sunday, it was junior guard Jamal Bey who scorched Utah for a team-high 28 points, which was 10 more than his previous best over two and a half seasons.
The game before, UW sophomore guard Marcus Tsohonis went for 27 against Colorado, and he did this by coming off the bench, and he made this happen after scoring 24 against Stanford 13 days earlier.
Junior guard Erik Stevenson turned in nine consecutive single-digit performances to begin the season, even going scoreless in two of the last three, before he went off for 27 points on California.
Everyone assumed senior guard Quade Green, the one-time Kentucky transfer, would lead this team in scoring most nights and he has, with 26 against Oregon his high-water mark.
Even long-range and quick-trigger sophomore guard RaeQuan Battle got involved in this scoring free-for-all by subbing in following mundane games of 3, 3 and 4, and dropping 19 points on the Ducks.
All of this point-producing unpredictability has taken a little of the sting out of a lost season (3-11 overall, 2-7 Pac-12) and kept people guessing over who will come next at the top of the nightly scoring heap.
As the Huskies prepare to host Washington State on Sunday at 5 p.m., whose turn comes next?
We revisit the Huskies' top four point performances this season:
Based on his Husky history alone, Bey seemed an unlikely candidate to lead this team with the highest-scoring game of the season. But he does. Through his first 66 Husky outings, the Las Vegas product reached double figures only six times, and never exceeded 14 points. Against Utah, the points came rushing out of him in ways that seemed possible but not necessary realistic.
For a UW team that couldn't hit anything early on this season, Bey was disarmingly accurate in the 83-79 victory, sinking 10 of 11 field-goal attempts, including all four of his 3-pointers. He's reached double figures in five of his past six games now. He has at least 11 games left to see if can exceed his team high of 28.
"I've never been this efficient before, but my teammates were finding me and every shot I put up felt good," said Bey, who had a 50-point game as a Las Vegas high school player. "It was, 'If I'm open, I'm shooting it.' "
Tsohonis was like a firefighter sitting around the station, waiting night after night for something to happen, to go out on a call. Four nights before Bey went wild, this unconventional but reliable guard from Portland found his rhythm against Colorado. Checking in more than four minutes after the game began, the guy with the fashionable big hair sank 9 of 13 shots, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc, in the UW's 84-80 win over the Buffaloes.
When the season opened, he wasn't always in the rotation as coach Mike Hopkins went with backcourt newcomers. Tsohonis sat out three entire games. Yet practically every time he's heard his name called, he's produced. He had a 24-point outing against Stanford, too, demonstrating the 27 game was no fluke.
"I was just glad we were able to pull through and nobody's quitting on each other," Tsohonis said, deflecting the credit coming his way. "We're communicating."
Reaching this exalted point total was no surprise for Stevenson when he did it against California in his 10th Husky game. No, the prevailing question that day was what took him so long?
The Wichita State transfer brought a track record with him to the UW for instant scoring, coming up with a college career-high 29 points for the Shockers against Ole Miss last January and following up with 27 against Central Florida a month later.
Stevenson, with fundamentally sound shooting form better than most, as shown in the photo, simply had trouble getting his shot off with a new offense, more freestyle than set up, and with new teammates who were all trying to take it upon themselves to pull the UW out of its horrendous slide.
"I've been a scorer my whole life," he said. "Obviously that didn't show the first few games."
Green has the ability score, no question about it — he leads the UW in scoring at 15.4 points per game. He has turned in five 20-point games in 14 games for the Huskies this season. He had three of these in 14 games last season before becoming academically ineligible.
He collected his career- and season-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting against the Ducks and followed that up a few weeks later with 25 at UCLA, demonstrating his offensive prowess against two of the Pac-12's top teams. In his season and a half at Kentucky, he topped 20 points just once, in his fourth game as a freshman with 21 against East Tennessee State.
While Green needs to react accordingly to the situation that presents itself, he's gone from almost exclusively looking for his 3-point shot during UW loss after loss to mixing in clever scoring while dishing the ball to teammates more in the recent wins. Face it, he's not going to make it in the NBA as a 6-footer who's solely a scorer. He needs to show some playmaking ability now. It helps if other guys are doing the scoring, too.
"We're hitting shots now," Green said. "We weren't doing that previously."
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