Tyler Haws (far right) snuffed out any chance for Washington to salvage a disappointing season that ended Tuesday night after a 90-79 defeat to BYU in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Leave it to a Cougar to put the Huskies out of their mediocre misery.
Haws scored 37 points, the most against UW since Klay Thompson tallied 43 in 2011.
In a rematch against C.J. Wilcox, his childhood friend and high school rival, Haws was flat out sensational. He converted 15 of 24 from the floor and made all six free throw attempts.
BYU (22-11) also received 22 points from senior forward Brandon Davies while sophomore guard Matt Carlino chipped in 20.
Wilcox finished with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting in what might be his last game for the Huskies. The junior guard is considering entering the NBA draft and estimated the chances of returning to school are 50-50.
It was certainly the last game at Washington for seniors Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs and Aziz N’Diaye.
Gaddy had nine points and nine assists to move into second place on UW’s all-time assist list. N’Diaye had 10 points and three rebounds in just 19 minutes. And Suggs, who had been on a hot streak in the past six games, turned cold. He finished with five points on 1-for-9 shooting. Suggs also had five assists.
It was a quiet game for reserve forwards Desmond Simmons and Jernard Jarreau who combined for eight points, four assists and three rebounds.
Washington ends the season at 18-16. The Huskies lost three of their last four games. Still, they were never as outgunned as they were Tuesday. The 90 points were the most against Washington in a losing effort.
The game was eerily similar to a 92-73 defeat to South Dakota State last season. In that game, Nate Wolters torched the Huskies for 34 points.
Tonight Haws was a little better.
No matter who the Huskies put on him, he shot over them for long jumpers or dribbled around them for layups. BYU shot 47 percent from the field and 91.3 percent (21 of 23) at the free throw line.
Washington’s biggest problems were its transition defense and inability to rebound. The Huskies were repeatedly slow to recover defensively, which may have been a side effect of playing in the high altitude. But there’s no reason why UW was dominated on the glass. The Huskies had a size advantage at every position, but was outrebounded 37-28.
Still, there were a few positives. UW committed just 10 turnovers and scored 79 points, which was the fifth highest this season.
More reasons for optimism: sophomore forward Shawn Kemp Jr. and redshirt freshman guard Andrew Andrews.
Kemp collected a personal best 11 rebounds and had 15 points for his first double double in his career. Andrews had 12 points. However, he committed four turnovers that overshadowed his four assists and three rebounds.
The Huskies led 35-33 at the half, but the Cougars used a 9-0 run midway through the second half to unlock a 45-45 tie and break the game open. Gaddy got UW to within three points (66-63) with consecutive layups, but two three-pointers from Carlino and two layups from Davies put BYU on top 76-67 with about 5:12 left.
Washington never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The Huskies enter the offseason needing an infusion of talent. At the very least forwards Perris Blackwell and Gilles Dierickx, who sat out this season due to transfer rules, will be eligible. Blackwell will likely challenge for a starting job.
Washington signed McDonald’s All-American point guard Nigel Williams-Goss and three-star prospect Darin Johnson, who is considered a lights-out scorer at shooting guard. Another three-star guard Jahmel Taylor committed to UW and is expected to sign next month.
Meanwhile, the Huskies are still in the running for five-star power forward Aaron Gordon and junior college small forward Mike Anderson.