Washington defense awakens, throttles NAU in second half

WP

SEATTLE — Markelle Fultz had 16 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and the Washington defense awoke in its 92-58 win over Northern Arizona on Sunday night.

Fultz made 6 of 9 from the field, including two 3-pointeres. Matisse Thybulle scored 15 and Noah Dickerson added 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Huskies (2-1) set the tone defensively on the Lumberjacks' opening two possessions: one ending in a Malik Dime block and the other a turnover forced by Thybulle — the first of five by NAU (1-4) before the under-12 timeout and 16 total.

The Lumberjacks remained within striking distance into the second half, but Washington put them away in the game's final 13 minutes. The Huskies opened up a 38-point lead, going on 33-10 run before inserting the last men on their bench for the final three minutes.

Felix Rivera-Vega scored 11 and Ako Kaluna finished with 10 points and five rebounds for NAU.

BIG PICTURE

Northern Arizona: Although the Lumberjacks were overmatched physically and athletically — to be expected from a Big Sky team facing one from the Pac-12 — they have to be satisfied with keeping it largely competitive for three-fourths of the game against UW. NAU entered the game with just one win in its first four, and it came against a Division III opponent, Benedictine Mesa. NAU cleaned up some sloppy play early in the game and can look to take a sliver of momentum into its game at UNLV on Tuesday.

Washington: The Huskies turned in their best performance of the young season, proving they can put away a team, albeit an outclassed one. After giving up 98 points to Yale and 88 to Cal State Fullerton, holding NAU to 58 is a welcome sight for Lorenzo Romar. The Lumberjacks' shooting percentage rarely climbed above 40 percent all game, finishing with 20-of-65 shooting (30.8 percent).

UP NEXT

Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks play their second of back-to-back road games when they visit UNLV on Tuesday.

Washington: The Huskies finish up a stretch of four straight home games to open the season against Long Beach State on Tuesday before heading to Las Vegas for the Global Sports MTE, where NAU is also a participant.