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Nov 28, 2023 12:33 am

Washington eager to keep fighting, faces UC San Diego

The last time it played, on Nov. 19, Washington was involved in what coach Mike Hopkins called a “heavyweight fight.”

The Huskies took San Diego State, the reigning NCAA Tournament runner-up, to overtime before dropping a 100-97 decision in the championship game of the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas.

Washington will return to action on Tuesday night when it faces UC San Diego in Seattle.

“You’re in the fighting capital of the world … and it was a heavyweight fight,” Hopkins said of a game that featured 13 lead changes and 11 ties. “I thought it was going back and forth. … Down (nine) with two minutes to go, we gave ourselves a chance. I thought we could have walked off winning the game and coming from behind. We got into overtime.

“Both teams had chances to win and deserved to win. They made a play or two more, but really proud of our guys.”

The Huskies (3-2), who beat Xavier 74-71 in the opening round of the event, were led by all-tournament team selections Keion Brooks Jr. and Sahvir Wheeler, two transfers from Kentucky. Brooks had 22 points and six rebounds in the finale while Wheeler added 19 points, six assists and four steals.

UC San Diego (4-2) will be playing its third consecutive game in Seattle after losing 73-70 in overtime to Idaho on Friday before falling 79-67 to Seattle University two days later.

“They’re a difficult matchup for us where they force you into picking your poison,” Tritons coach Eric Olen said of the Redhawks. “I liked the way we responded throughout the game in terms of competitiveness and physicality.

“We have a lot of things we need to get better at, but if we compete that way we’ll put ourselves in a good position more times than not.”

Bryce Pope led UC San Diego on Sunday with 22 points, including four 3-pointers. He is averaging a team-high 19.7 points per game.

–Field Level Media

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