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Washington needs late surge to get past North Florida

Feb 28, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington head coach Mike Hopkins yells during a game against UCLA at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman Keyon Menifield scored 21 points in his first career start to help Washington rally for a 75-67 victory over North Florida in a nonconference game on Friday night in Seattle.

Franck Kepnang recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds and Jamal Bey added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies (2-0). Cole Bajema collected 11 rebounds for Washington, which shot 57.6 percent in the second half and finished the game with a 15-6 run.

Jarius Hicklen scored 19 points and Johnathan Aybar had 12 for the Ospreys (0-2). Carter Hendricksen had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Jadyn Parker added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Washington played without Keion Brooks Jr. (undisclosed) and Noah Williams (knee). Brooks, a transfer from Kentucky, scored 20 points in the Huskies’ season-opening victory over Weber State.

Washington made 40.3 percent of its shots for the game and was 3 of 13 (23.1 percent) from behind the arc.

North Florida made just 34.3 percent of its shots and was 8 of 29 (27.6 percent) from 3-point range. Hendricksen made just 2 of 15 shots, including 1 of 6 from long range.

The Ospreys led 61-60 after a dunk by Aybar with 4:35 left before the Huskies rattled off nine straight points.

Bey hit a 3-pointer to give Washington a 63-61 edge with 4:22 left, and he added a basket 24 seconds later. Kepnang followed with back-to-back dunks to give the Huskies a 69-61 advantage with 2:09 to play.

Placer and Hicklen sank 3-pointers as North Florida crept within two with 1:16 remaining. Menifield answered with a jumper with 44 seconds left and added two free throws with 21 seconds to make it 73-67 as Washington closed it out.

The Huskies trailed by six at the break but started the second half strong and caught the Ospreys at 42 with 15:26 left in the game.

Hicklen scored the next five points for North Florida before Washington scored seven of nine. Bajema was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to tie it at 49 with 11:22 left.

Menifield drained a 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 56-54 edge with 7:19 to play. Hendricksen later buried a 3-pointer to give the Ospreys a 59-58 lead.

North Florida led 34-28 at halftime despite shooting just 35.3 percent from the field. Washington shot 25.6 percent before the break.

–Field Level Media