SEATTLE -- Washington has shown plenty of flaws in the first season under Mike Hopkins. The Huskies have also shown a knack for figuring out how to win even when it's not the prettiest of performances.
"I didn't think we played well tonight," Hopkins said. "Cal missed fouls shots. Our offense in stretches wasn't good. It reminded me of an early-season game. It didn't feel like there was a flow. It was ugly. We allowed pressure, we had bad turnovers, but we found a way to win, which I'm happy for."
The Huskies (13-4, 3-1 Pac-12) overcame a sloppy and unattractive first-half filled with fouls and turnovers to pull away from the Golden Bears over the final 15 minutes. Nowell carried Washington in the first half with 11 points and he got help from his supporting cast in the final 20 minutes.
Nahziah Carter was a big contributor with 10 points off the bench. David Crisp also finished with 10 points, all in the second half as the Huskies built a double-digit lead in the final 10 minutes and didn't have to rally or hold on in the closing moments.
"It was definitely a great breather for us because most of our games we definitely had to come back from being down," Nowell said.
Justice Sueing led California (7-10, 1-3) with a career-high 27 points, but the Golden Bears faltered in the latter stages of the second half after leading scorer Don Coleman fouled out with nearly 13 minutes remaining.
"He is a talented young man," Cal coach Wyking Jones said of Sueing. "He has been playing well for us the last couple of games. He was really good today but we have to get more from our bigs."
Coleman, who was averaging 18.9, was already having a bad night and was constantly berated by the Washington student section. His night got worse when he fouled out with 12:47 remaining picking up his fourth foul on a defensive rebound attempt and being assessed a technical foul complaining about the call. The technical was his fifth and sent Coleman to the bench after going 0 of 4 shooting and just four points.
It was the third time this season Coleman failed to score in double figures but two of those have come in the past three games. Coleman was held to four points on 1 of 8 shooting in Cal's loss to USC last week.
The technical became a turning point. Washington went on an 18-5 run after Coleman fouled out, including 14 straight during one stretch. Crisp, who was scoreless for the first 25 minutes of the game, hit a pair of key 3s during the run. The first time, Crisp flipped a 25-footer off an inbound play to beat the shot clock and push Washington's lead to 54-43 with 8:30 remaining. He added a corner 3 on the Huskies next possession and the lead was 14 with 7:34 remaining.
"It wasn't pretty and we found a way again," Hopkins said. "I give the guys credit, but I want more."
California: Coleman is one of the few experienced players on the Bears young roster and they showed their inexperience after their leading scorer fouled out. California had a number of poor offensive possessions after Coleman went to the bench and watched the Huskies finally build a double-digit lead. ... Cal lost its first true road game after starting 3-0 away from home.
Washington: Carter provided a needed spark off the bench. Matisse Thybulle picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and Carter was asked to play key minutes. It was the third time this season Carter has scored in double figures but he was efficient with his 10 points coming in just 14 minutes. ... Washington's 20 turnovers was a season-high.
The first half was ugly as the teams combined for 19 turnovers and 16 fouls in the first 20 minutes. Only the scoring of Nowell and Sueing saved the half from being a real slog. Sueing had 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting, while Nowell had 11 points, making 4 of 6 shots. Nowell's 3-pointer with 29 seconds left in the half was followed by Michael Carter III's 3 in the final seconds to give Washington a 28-24 lead at the break.
California: The Bears face Washington State on Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies host Stanford on Saturday.
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