South Dakota State, hitting 8 of 11 3-point shots — 72.7 percent — and 59.4 percent overall in the first half, built a 22-point lead over heavily favored Washington and held on easily to shock the Huskies 92-73 Sunday, ending Washington’s school-record 32-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents.
The Huskies (5-5) had not dropped a game to a non-conference opponent at Alaska Airlines Arena since March 14, 2008, when they fell to Valparaiso 72-71 in a CBI tournament first-round contest.
Moreover, South Dakota State had not beaten a major Division 1 team this season, having lost to Georgia, Nebraska and Minnesota. But the Jackrabbits became the first team since Oregon on Jan. 2, 2010, to score 90 or more points against Washington, which allowed No. 7 Duke “only” 86 last week in Madison Square Garden.
“That was just unacceptable,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. “We didn’t bring the energy we needed to bring and we have no one to blame but ourselves. There was a concern from the start that we didn’t have the proper energy. The things we were supposed to do to win the game we didn’t do.
“But you have to give South Dakota State a lot of credit. They took it to us and we just didn’t respond.”
To the mortification of the crowd, the Huskies came out flat and uninspired, had no focus or aggressiveness, and fell behind 7-2, 12-5, 14-7, 17-7, 23-7 and then 33-14 as the Jackrabbits scored pretty much whenever they pleased.
By halftime, South Dakota State, a member of the Summit League, built a 51-33 lead. The visitors had their largest lead at 22 points with 6:14 left before intermission.
At one point in the first half, the Jackrabbits were 14-for-18 from from 2-point range and 7-for-7 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the normally up-tempo Huskies couldn’t get anything going. It was this awful: Washington did not score one fast-break point in the first half.
Washington went on an 8-0 run early in the second half, whittling the lead to 11, but South Dakota State played patiently, took good shots and continued to maintain its lead, which ranged from 11 to 19 points for the rest of the game.
Nate Wolters, an All-Summit League selection in 2011, practically beat the Huskies all by himself. The Jackrabbits’ point guard scored 16 points before intermission and finished with a career-high 32. Wolters also had four assists and, more impressively, did not commit a single turnover despite playing the entire game.
“Very impressive performance by Wolters,” said Romar. “I’f I’m an NBA scout, I’m going to come out and watch him play. He hits the big shots and controls the offense. Very impressive.”
Griffan Callahan finished with 16 points for the Jackrabbits and hit all three of his 3-pointers.
For the game, South Dakota State made 10 of 16 3-pointers, 62.5 percent and 28 of 51 2-pointer, 54.9 percent. SDSU’s 3-point percentage (62.5) was almost a record against Washington. On Dec. 20, 1987, Oregon made 11 of 14 3s against the Huskies, 78.6 percent.
Tony Wroten, who scored a career-high 27 in Washington’s victory over UC Santa Barbara Friday, led the Huskies with 23 points. But Terrence Ross, Washington’s leading scorer, went MIA. He took only four shots in his first 22 minutes of action and finished with six points before fouling out.
Another of Washington’s top scorers, C.J. Wilcox, took 15 shots and missed 11, finishing with 12 points.
The Huskies played without starting center Aziz N’Diaye, out with a bad knee. Romar said he didn’t believe that N’Diaye’s presence would have made a difference.
“Aziz might have helped,” Romar said. “But with our lack of energy, I don’t know that anything would have helped.”
Asked where the Huskies go from this nadir, Romar said, “We come back to practice tomorrow (Monday) morning. One thing we have to do right now is that we must get better defensively. With a few days of practice (heading into a game against Cal State Northridge Thursday), I would anticipate we will look better. But if we don’t, then there is a real cause for concern.”
The Huskies play Cal State Northridge game tips off at 7 p.m.