No. 25 Washington hopes to avoid another scare

Field Level Media

After a tough test from a gritty Montana team on Friday night, No. 25 Washington hosts San Diego on Sunday night in the Huskies' third game in six days.

The Huskies (4-1) got past the Grizzlies 73-56 despite falling behind by one early in the second half. The final score was more indicative of Montana's short-handed situation, as two players fouled out and the Grizzlies just couldn't stay with the Huskies down the stretch.

Washington shot 33 more free throws than Montana.

"In a basketball game, you're just trying to find a way," Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. "When you're playing a team like Montana, they're never giving up. We got a little away from playing the right way."

Guard Nahziah Carter, who leads Washington in scoring at 15.2 points per game, finished with 13 on Friday.

The Toreros (2-4) of the West Coast Conference have played a difficult schedule, and Sunday will be the second Top 25 opponent they will have faced this season. San Diego fell to then-No. 25 Colorado on the road on Nov. 16.

Guard Joey Calcaterra, who has three 20-point games this season, leads San Diego in scoring at 14.8 points per game.

On Wednesday, San Diego lost to crosstown rival San Diego State 66-49. The Aztecs had their way inside as the Toreros' strategy on defense was to limit San Diego State's 3-point shooting.

"We feel like threes break the game open," San Diego coach Sam Scholl told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "They'd been making 10 a game. I felt like our big guys could be able to challenge them. We go double, they're good passers and now you're opening yourself up to swing, swing, long closeout (and) 3. Or attacking and driving (against) that long closeout."

The Toreros might not defend the 3-point arc with as much emphasis on Sunday when they'll have to deal with two of Washington's top three scorers, 6-foot-9 freshman forwards Jaden McDaniels and Stewart. The two combined for 32 points in the Friday win.

Stewart had 18 despite early foul trouble and played just 15 minutes.

"There's no one that can handle him," Hopkins said. "When you have a player like that, you just keep feeding him and he'll get openings for everybody else. He's as good as anybody in the country."

Stewart's limited minutes forced Hopkins to adjust his game plan.

"You're just trying to find a way," the coach said. "Tonight I had a lot of crazy lineups in. We were rotating players. We've been tired, and I was just trying to keep energy in the game.

"And for the most part, I thought we played exceptionally hard. I don't think we played exceptionally smart. We had some unforced turnovers and plays that you just can't make. But we competed on the defensive end, and I was really happy about that."

Washington has eight players listed at 6-foot-9 or taller on the roster, the most in the Pac-12.

This is the second time in two seasons the two teams will play each other. Last year's meeting, in Seattle, was a tight game with Washington edging the Toreros 66-63.

Carter had 11 points in that game for the Huskies.

--Field Level Media

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