The Washington Huskies were expected to take a slight step back from the Pac 12 regular season championship run of last season, but the decline might be steeper than anyone thought. Last night, the Huskies hosted the Albany Great Danes and suffered an early season upset 63-62.
Albany’s Mike Black drove to the hoop and hit a layup with 3.7 seconds left, capping a seven-point second half rally that left the Huskies stunned. Black finished with a game-high 22 points, while Jacob Iati hit six 3-pointers while chipping in 20 points to fuel the upset.
Washington got good contributions from Abdul Gaddy, who led the team with 16 points, and 7-footer Aziz N’Diaye, who added 13, but the team faded down the stretch. Albany was able to dictate the pace for most of the game, keeping the Huskies from getting into a rhythm or tempo that benefited them.
N’Diaye scored just one point after half time and the Huskies missed 11 free throws while shooting just 3-of-12 from 3-point range. C.J. Wilcox, Washington’s leading returning scorer, didn’t hit a 3-point shot until there was 1:39 left in the game and finished with just 11 points.
The loss undercuts any momentum Washington hoped to take into their big upcoming games against the Seton Hall Pirates and possibly the Ohio State Buckeyes. This upset could shake the Dawgs’ confidence as they try and figure out their identity for the coming season.
Washington was further hurt by the loss of starting guard Scott Suggs 90 seconds in to the game. Suggs caught an elbow from Black and crumpled to the floor. After laying there for a few minutes, Suggs was helped up and looked noticeably unstable on his feet. With two trainers at his side, he was helped to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion. His availability for Washington’s game against Seton Hall is unclear.
Suggs wasn’t the only Washington player to go down in the loss. Desmond Simmons missed seven minutes of the first half after suffering a cut above his right eye. He came back onto the court late in the first half with a large bandage covering the wound.
So with injuries mounting, confidence shattered and a tough slate ahead, the Washington Huskies have to reevaluate where they are as a team and try and regroup.