Dickerson Rallies Washington Past Texas A&M 71-67
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Noah Dickerson said he was broke, in reference to all the shots around the rim missed by Washington's senior forward.
"I couldn't make anything. I couldn't make nothing. But we just kept at it," Dickerson said.
Dickerson overcame his early misses around the rim to score a season-high 24 points, Jaylen Nowell added 14 points, and Washington overcame foul trouble and terrible shooting in the first half to rally for a 71-67 win over Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, Washington (4-1) found its shooting touch in the second half and its zone defense started to cause problems for the Aggies. The Huskies shot 50 percent in the second half and held Texas A&M to just three made baskets over the final 11 ½ minutes. Texas A&M led 55-48 after Christian Mekowulu's dunk, but the Aggies scored just 11 points the rest of the way.
"We took it upon ourselves to make sure they couldn't gap and get into the paint and once we stopped that they had a hard time scoring," Dickerson said.
Dickerson was a menace both scoring and on the glass. He finished with 17 rebounds, 11 at the offensive end. Dickerson made 7 of 19 shots and was 10 of 17 at the free-throw line.
"He just kept playing and he didn't get frustrated if he didn't make it. It was just keep battling, keep going at it and he did," Washington coach Mike Hopkins said.
But Dickerson missed a chance to seal the victory missing a pair of free throws with seven seconds left and the Huskies leading 69-66.
The Huskies fouled Jay Jay Chandler with 3.3 seconds remaining. He made the first free throw, intentionally missed the second but a lane violation by Chandler gave possession to Washington. Matisse Thybulle was fouled and hit both free throws to seal the victory.
Chandler led Texas A&M (1-4) with 21 points and TJ Starks added 17. The Aggies led by as many as 13 in the first half, their guards able to penetrate Washington's zone defense and either score at the rim or find open shooters. But those lanes closed in the second half and Washington was better offensively.
"We really struggled guarding Dickerson and once we missed some easy shots at the free-throw line we got a little bit tighter in our shot selection," Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.
Washington shot a putrid 23 percent in the first half but were still within five at the break after Dominic Green's corner 3-pointer at the buzzer. Its big rally started after Mekowulu's dunk, with Green banking in a 3-pointer to begin a 11-0 run Dickerson's three-point play gave Washington its first lead at 56-55 and David Crisp followed with a 3-pointer.
But the final minutes became a challenge for the Huskies. Washington was 8 of 15 on free throws over the final 6 ½ minutes. Washington extended its lead to 66-62 after Nowell's free throw and Thybulle made a huge defensive play off a Washington turnover, chasing down Chandler's layup attempt, blocking the shot off Chandler and out of bounds to the Huskies. The sequence and turnover forced by Thybulle proved critical in the Huskies holding on.
Texas A&M: The Aggies had a forgettable trip to the Northwest. After losing to No. 3 Gonzaga and dropping the opening game to Minnesota in Vancouver, they were hoping to salvage at least one game of the trip. The Aggies have lost four straight.
"We just played three really good teams when you look at Gonzaga ... Minnesota and Washington. Very few people play that type of schedule and our team got better," Kennedy said.
Washington: Dickerson approached his career highs of 28 points and 22 rebounds. He's scored 28 points twice and had 22 rebounds last season against Eastern Washington. But aside from Dickerson and Nowell no other Washington player scored more than eight points.
Texas A&M: The Aggies return home to host South Alabama on Friday.
Washington: The Huskies face Minnesota in the final game of the tournament on Wednesday.