COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Eight years had passed by since Washington made an NCAA Match bracket. The Huskies’ award-winning gamers made their return profitable.

Noah Dickerson had 20 factors and 12 rebounds, and ninth-seeded Washington pulled away on the finish to a 78-61 victory over Utah State on Friday.

BOX SCORE: WASHINGTON 78, UTAH STATE 61

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The Huskies (27-8) lastly received again to the match, they usually received a win, too .

“It feels actually good, truly,” Dickerson stated. “After I was just a little child, I used to look at this match on a regular basis hoping sooner or later I might have an opportunity to play in it.”

The Pac-12’s common season champions swept the league’s awards — prime participant, greatest defensive participant and coach of the yr — and received one thing from all of them in opposition to one of many hottest groups in March.

Eighth-seeded Utah State (28-7) had received 10 in a row and 17 of 18 whereas taking the Mountain West title. The Aggies received the very best seed at school historical past and had been making an attempt to finish their very own lengthy NCAA Match drought. They have not received since 2002, dropping eight in a row — together with 2006 in opposition to the Huskies.

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“It has been an excellent yr for us, undoubtedly, getting Utah State again to the place Utah State basketball must be,” stated Sam Merrill, who had 10 factors. “However clearly that is nonetheless very disappointing. We felt like this was an actual alternative to make that subsequent step for this program.”

Washington adopted the lead of its prime gamers.

Jaylen Nowell, the Pac-12 participant of the yr, had 19 factors and 5 assists. High defender Matisse Thybulle helped the Huskies surge forward to remain late within the first half however was restricted by foul hassle the remainder of the best way. He completed with 10 factors, 5 steals and three blocks.

Pac-12 Coach of the 12 months Mike Hopkins received a $17.5 million extension by way of 2025 on the eve of the sport, after which led the Huskies to their long-awaited win.

“It is a feeling you by no means wish to give away,” Hopkins stated. “And so this elevates the place we wish to be.”

Thybulle helped the Huskies construct the sport’s first vital lead. He hit a 3-pointer and had a steal and dunk throughout a 13-Three run that ended the primary half and put Washington forward 40-28. Thybulle additionally had an emphatic block on Abel Porter’s jumper from the perimeter.

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The Huskies pushed the result in 13 factors early within the second half earlier than Thybulle went to the bench together with his third foul. Utah State lower it to 54-53 on Sam Merrill’s 3-pointer, however Nahziah Carter hit back-to-back 3s that blunted the comeback. Washington was by no means severely threatened down the stretch.

BIG PICTURE

Washington: The Huskies have not received two video games within the match since 2010, after they misplaced to West Virginia within the Candy 16.

Utah State: The Aggies had a breakthrough season, getting ranked in High 25 for first time in eight years. Their 28 wins had been third-most at school historical past.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Utah State 6-23 all-time within the match. The Aggies’ final win got here in 2002 over Ohio State in extra time. Washington is 18-17.

OUCH

Utah State’s Brock Miller received a bloody nostril in a scrum for a rebound late within the first half and went to the bench. He returned within the second half and completed with 13 factors and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes.

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FOUL TROUBLES

Washington guard David Crisp fouled out with 8:16 to go. Thybulle picked up his fourth foul with 7:07 left however completed the sport.

NOT ENOUGH MERRILL

Merrill was MVP of the Mountain West Match, averaging 23 factors. The Huskies centered on following him each time he lower to the basket. Merrill missed all of his three pictures within the first half and completed with 10 factors on 2-of-9 taking pictures.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Hopkins on the way it’s completely different being a head coach than an assistant in a giant sport: “Do you see my hairline? I misplaced a variety of actual property the final two years and a variety of sleep. However you already know what, hear, I’ve dreamt my entire lifetime of being on this place. While you dream it and also you get a possibility, it is particular, I can not mislead you.”

UP NEXT

Washington will face both top-seeded North Carolina or Iona on Sunday within the Midwest Area.

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Extra AP faculty basketball: https://apnews.com/MarchMadness and https://twitter.com/AP–High25

Associated slideshow: Finest photographs of the NCAA Match (Offered by imagn)

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Liberty Flames players celebrate from the bench against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at SAP Center.

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