SEATTLE — The University of Washington Huskies headed north to British Columbia to begin the inaugural TCL Vancouver Showcase. The team will be playing three games in four days, facing Santa Clara, Texas A&M, and Minnesota.
The first night of the trip ended in an 82-68 victory over a winless Santa Clara team — a game Jaylen Nowell won’t be forgetting soon. Tying his career-high 32 points, Nowell was the best player on the floor all night long. After a scary tumble near the basket in the second half, Nowell seemed to be favoring his left wrist, but never left the game. He finished the game shooting 11-of-14, including 4-of-6 beyond the arc.
Forward Noah Dickerson was able to play the type of basketball that suits him best. Last season’s leader in free throws attempted and made, Dickerson used his big body and physical play to draw a ton of foul calls, making seven of his nine shots from the stripe. Dickerson also added four rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.
Dominic Green finally found his groove as well, scoring a season-high 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Green hasn’t had the hot hand in the first three games of the season, scoring six, four and zero points, respectively.
While it was an early contender for Jaylen Nowell’s performance of the year, the night was one that Matisse Thybulle is going to have to try and forget. According to Tim Booth of the Associate Press, Thybulle tweaked his ankle on Saturday afternoon and wasn’t playing 100 percent, and it showed. Thybulle just couldn’t get his offense rolling, missing all five of his field goals and only heading to the free-throw line once. He did, however, continue his dominant defensive season, ending with five blocks and four rebounds.
The first game of the showcase also included coach Mike Hopkins’ first change to the starting five of the season, going with sophomore forward Hameir Wright in favor of Sam Timmins. Timmins spent the first three games of the season in the starting lineup, but may have played himself out of a job. With 1.3 points per game, Timmins came into tonight with the lowest PPG of Huskies who have played in every game this season.
Now, the Huskies are playing without Timmins’ presence on the court – 11 minutes per game this year compared to last years 18 minutes per game – while Hameir Wright and fellow sophomore Nahziah Carter have seen more play time. Carter ended his night with nine points and six boards while Wright had four points and two boards. Timmins added two points off of the bench.
The biggest takeaway from this game is the versatility of this team. When Matisse Thybulle, my early vote to be this team’s MVP, simply couldn’t play to his full potential, the rest of the team stepped up. Nowell and Green picked him up with their scoring and Dickerson’s presence on the defensive end helped the Huskies maintain their lead from start to finish. This team is going to continue to find ways to win and push them back to the NCAA tournament.