Raise your hand if you saw that happening?
Washington, which hasn’t won a true road game in nearly two years, pulled off one of the upsets of the season with a 74-65 win over No. 2 Kansas on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
UW (7-2) was a more than a 20-point underdog yet captured its first win outside the state of Washington since a win over Stanford in the 2015-16 Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
The Huskies are now on a five-game winning streak and that Sunday game against in-state rival Gonzaga appears a bit more interesting.
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Here’s what we learned:
THE ZONE WORKED
Huskies coach Mike Hopkins made an interesting point a few days ago. KU’s most recent game was a 76-60 win over Syracuse and the Orange’s zone defense.
A former Syracuse assistant, Hopkins was asked if KU had the inside track on breaking through the zone.
“At the end of the day, we have certain things and different personnel than they do,” Hopkins said. “I think it helps we get to watch it, we get to see it and excited about it.”
UW made a point to blanket the 3-point line. KU shot 5 of 20 from 3 for 25 percent.
Making the 3 is a big piece of Kansas’ foundation. The Jayhawks, as of Wednesday, were ninth nationally from beyond and were shooting 43.5 percent. In fact, the Jayhawks average around 35 points from 3, which is the seventh-best amount in America.
Perhaps the most telling example of UW’s defense came when KU tried to feed a pass to Lagerald Vick at the top of the key only to have Matisse Thybulle come up with the steal.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
Where to start with this one. How about Thybulle?
He led UW with 19 points but was able to do it in a variety of ways. Thybulle was 5 of 8 from 3 but his signature basket came on the steal which turned into an end-to-end dunk for a 64-54 lead.
Noah Dickerson’s dunk with 4:30 left gave the Huskies a 66-54 lead and further brought about the reality that the upset was a reality.
Dickerson’s dunk came off a lob from David Crisp, who moved the ball for a season-high seven assists. A scorer last year, Crisp showed against KU he could be a facilitator against one of the best teams in the nation.
And then Crisp hit that dagger of a 3 with 2:16 left for a 73-59 lead.
Thybulle’s efficiency, Dickerson’s power and Crisp’s decision making were all important factors that lead to the upset.
Sophomore center Sam Timmins chipped in with eight and freshman forward Hameir Wright had five points as he continues to receive more playing time.
Getting this sort of balance only makes what UW has with freshman guard Jaylen Nowell much more potent.
Nowell has done everything possible to show he can be a top scorer. He’s won games late with clutch shooting and against the Jayhawks, he did it throughout the course of a game.
He finished with 17 points off 7 of 16 shooting while doing it from inside and mid-range.
WHERE DOES UW GO FROM HERE?
Talk about expectations changing in an instant with the Huskies.
UW gets a few days before it hosts No. 11 Gonzaga at 5 p.m. Sunday. It’s the start of four straight home games for the Huskies until they start Pac-12 play against USC on Dec. 29.
Should the Huskies win at least three of those games, that would give them 10 wins. A year ago, this squad won nine games in total.
Beating Kansas, aside from the upset, also answers a serious question about UW’s performances on the road.
Go back to when this team played in the 2K Classic back in November. Turnovers doomed UW in a close loss to Providence and were blown out the next day against Virginia Tech.
UW recovered by winning four games in a row but did it against lesser teams. Those victories also came at Alaska Airlines Arena.
With the Huskies grabbing one of the biggest regular season wins in program history, it changes things quite a bit.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark