Markelle Fultz looked every bit the part of a future lottery pick in the first game of his college career, finishing with 30 points, seven boards and six assists for the Washington Huskies, but it wasn’t enough as Washington fell at home to Yale, 98-90, on Sunday night.
Yale was playing without Makai Mason, their star point guard who is out for the season after breaking bones in his foot. Yale was also playing without Jordan Bruner, a 6-foot-8 freshman that has been one of the best players in the Eli program throughout the fall.
Freshman Miye Oni had 24 points to lead five Bulldogs in double-figures in the win, but the story of this game wasn’t Yale.
It was Washington.
The Huskies had high hopes entering the year, as they added the potential No. 1 pick in Fultz. And he was sensational, thriving in the uptempo, transition game that Romar wants his guys to play. The problem with this Washington team is that they looked lost on the defensive end of the floor. Yale’s Sam Downey, who averaged just 5.7 points in the Ivy League as a junior last season, was giving Washington’s big men all they could handle in the paint. He finished with 22 points and seven boards, and that wasn’t the only issue.
Yale got just about any shot that they wanted. They got 21 offensive rebounds and scored 19 second-chance points. For the night, Yale averaged 1.29 points-per-possession and committed just seven turnovers in a game that had 76 possessions.
Fultz is a star. The numbers that he puts up this season are going to be wild, and it’s still too early to write off the Huskies. A rough game on a Sunday night on a campus that was just hours removed from a devastating football loss on a team that is loaded with young players is not the end of the world.
But if Washington isn’t going to get stops, then we could end up in a situation where college basketball’s best player is going to end up on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament.