The Mike Miller Classic delivered again in bringing in one of the top players in the country to the Pentagon. Washington played host to St. Anthony (TX) on Friday night, and the Yellowjackets let their biggest star showcase his talents.
ESPN has sophomore Charles Bassey ranked No. 2 in the nation for his class, and against Washington, he delivered. The 6-foot-10 center opened the game with a dunk in the lane just 30 seconds in, helping lead the Yellowjackets to a 73-50 victory.
Bassey finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and three assists on 9-of-17 shooting – and he did it all in 24 minutes. He was also 3-for-3 from three-point range, and Washington senior center Isaac Goeman did all he could to slow Bassey.
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“I wouldn’t say that it was fun. Challenging is probably a better word,” Goeman said of guarding Bassey. “Whenever you get to play against a player that is that talented, it’s just one of those things where you have to figure out what you can do to guard him. He’s quicker, taller and can jump higher than me, but the one thing I could do was push him around little bit.”
For as big as Bassey’s numbers were, Goeman held his own and didn’t back down from Bassey’s presence inside. Of Bassey’s six blocks, most were against Goeman. But Goeman never seemed rattled and finished the night with 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
“He just kept coming at him,” Washington coach Craig Nelson said of Goeman. “It didn’t matter to Isaac how many shots he got blocked, he just kept going and posting up hard. He continued to take the shot that he’s going to take in the regular season. I was proud of him offensively.”
St. Anthony was bigger, faster, stronger and more athletic than Washington. The Warriors (4-2) had a difficult time even getting a shot off in the opening minutes of the half. They got down 24-5 with just over eight minutes to play in the half. The Warriors shot just 22 percent from the field in the first frame. With the Warriors on the cusp of a huge blowout, Nelson used a timeout.
“We got over the awe factor a little bit,” Nelson said. “We just weren’t battling and we let them come out and do whatever they wanted. We were playing scared offensively. We got a couple of shots blocked early and we just needed to attack. I told them to keep attacking and we’ll get some good things going.”
He was right. Washington came out of the timeout down 19 and scored seven straight to cut it to 24-12. However, Bassey put an end to Washington’s mini run as he buried a runner in the lane and a long 3-pointer in back-to-back possessions.
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Washington trailed 31-16 at halftime and trailed by as many as 25 in the second half at 50-25 with 12:20 to play. But again, Washington didn’t fade and got it to 15 with 4:28 to play when Goeman scored on a three-point play.
Washington shot the ball much better in the second half at 43 percent and were only outscored by eight points in that time frame. Logan Utrecht added 11 rebounds for the Warriors.
But the second half also offered the play of the day as St. Anthony’s Isiah Saenz stole the ball at mid-court, dribbled the length of the court and lobbed the ball off of the backboard where Bassey grabbed it and drove home a monster dunk to the delight of the crowd.
“We look at this as another game and we want to get better,” Nelson said. “Sometimes it’s good to get your butt kicked because now you can learn, now you can see on film what we were doing incorrectly and go in and correct it. Just because they’re bigger and more athletic and get a certain kind of a shot off doesn’t really change what we do. They may block ten more shots than an average South Dakota team that we face, but we still learn a lot from games like this.”
Sam Chaput 2 0-1 4, Isiah Saenz 4 0-0 12, Quinton Uribe 3 0-0 7, Charles Bassey 9 4-4 25, Ricardo Valadez 1 1-2 3, Victor Castillo 0 0-0 0, Peyton Martin 0 0-0 0, Ousmane Ndim 2 3-4 7, Prosper Obi 1 2-4 4, Jude Pereida 4 0-0 11.
Carter Klatt 2 0-0 5, Jack Talley 3 1-3 7, Logan Uttecht 4 0-1 8, Zach Heins 1 0-0 2, Isaac Goeman 5 2-6 12, Topher Zahn 2 0-0 6, Landon Carda 0 2-2 2, Nolan Behr 0 0-0 0, Carter Shields 0 0-0 0, Noah Brown 0 0-0 0, Seth Benson 0 0-0 0, Angel Arroyo 2 2-4 6, Chol John 1 0-0 2.
St. Anthony 31 73
Washington 16 50
3-point goals – SA 11 (Saenz 4), SFW 3 (Zahn 2). Rebounds – SA 38 (Bassey 12), SFW 48 (Uttecht 11). Assists – SA 18 (Saenz 6), SFW 13 (Klatt 3, Talley 3). Turnovers – SA 10, SFW 18. Blocked Shots – SA 11 (Bassey 6), SFW 2 (Goeman, Behr). Steals – SA 9 (Saenz 3), SFW 3 (Klatt, Talley, Heins). Total fouls – SA 23, SFW 14. Fouled Out – SA (VALADEZ).