Jaylen Nowell was in middle school. A hashtag was a pound sign. Plus, Mike Hopkins was still a Syracuse assistant. But the Orange were playing in The Big East instead of The Atlantic Coast Conference.
That’s how long it has been since the Washington Huskies won 20 games in a season.
UW made history Thursday when it came away with a 79-77 win over Oregon State at the Alaska Airlines Arena. This is the first time since the 2011-12 season the Huskies (20-10, 10-7 Pac-12) have captured a 20-win season along with winning 10 conference games. UW, as a whole, also made a bit of history. It was the first time since the 1984-85 season the school has won 10 football games and 20 basketball games in the same academic year.
Initially, the Huskies were going to come away with a five-point victory until Beavers forward Tres Tinkle hit a long-distance 3-pointer as time expired.
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“There’s never a number. You go out there and try and get better every day,” Hopkins said. “You’re committed to that. The guys got better. It’s the kids. The kids bought in. They’re out there playing. I’m proud of the kids.”
As for OSU (14-15, 6-11), it remains winless on the road. The Beavers entered the game as one of 10 Division I programs to not win on the road this season.
OSU, with 5:41 left, was shooting 64.3 percent from the floor until Hopkins made some adjustments. He used a rotation with Noah Dickerson at power forward and Hameir Wright at center. Those alterations led to the Beavers going nearly three minutes without a basket.
Dickerson, who scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed five rebounds, fought for two offensive rebounds and scored on a put back for a 68-64 lead with 4:31 left in the game.
“I mean, I play with a lot of shot-blockers throughout my years,” Dickerson said of his effectiveness from the interior. “I’ve had a lot of practice in practice. It’s feel and touch and (knowing) angles and things like that.”
UW also forced a few shot clock violations and parlayed those into a 72-67 lead after Wright hit two free throws with 2:27 left. The freshman forward finished with five points and three rebounds in 24 minutes.
Beavers guard Stephen Thompson Jr., who scored 19 points, knocked down jumper trimming the lead to 72-69 on the next possession. Thompson — the author of two, game-winning 3’s against UW in his career — scored at a time when the Huskies failed to score for more than three minutes.
Thompson hitting shots against UW is nothing new. Then again, neither is watching Nowell operate with the game on the line.
Nowell, with one minute and 20 seconds left, held the ball for 25 seconds until hitting a runner for a 74-69 lead. Junior guard Matisse Thybulle came up with a steal on the next possession. Nowell, with 39.8 seconds remaining, drew a foul. He hit one of two free throws for a 75-69 lead.
OSU cut it to 75-72 with 15.4 seconds left but Nowell was fouled again. He drained both shots from the foul line for a 77-72 lead with 9.3 seconds left.
The former Seattle Garfield star along with Tacoma native David Crisp and Thybulle was one of three Huskies to score 12 points.
Washington’s last encounter against Oregon State was a 97-94 double-overtime loss Feb. 10 at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.
The Huskies held a 12-point lead only to watch the Beavers own the paint and shoot 47.4 percent from beyond. It was also the second loss in what would be a season-long three-game skid for UW.
Anyone facing the Beavers knows offense is going to be a thing. They’re shooting 50.4 percent on the year and that’s 64th out of more than 350 Division I teams.
OSU shot 51.7 percent in the first half. Most of that production came inside. The Beavers scored 22 points in the paint but went 4-for-11 for 36.4 percent in the opening half.
UW’s 2-3 zone pushed OSU off the line. The Huskies countered by also matching the Beavers’ high offensive totals.
Although UW has struggled to score at times, Hopkins still has the team shooting 48.8 percent from the field.
The Huskies connected on 60 percent of their field goals and 58.3 percent of their 3-point attempts to start.
Thybulle who was 3-for-3 from beyond in the half, drained a 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 36-26 lead with less than five minutes left. A few possessions later, the 6-foot-5 guard attacked the rim and scored for a 38-29 lead.
UW’s largest lead of the half was 11 points. It came when Crisp, who go free from a screen, fed a two-handed pass to Dickerson for a dunk in the heart of the paint for a 42-31 edge with 2:10 remaining.
“David in the first half, had his best half of the year,” Hopkins said of Crisp, who went 34 minutes and did not commit a turnover. “He hit shots. He managed the game and played like a veteran point guard.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark