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No. 2 Baylor hands Washington a season-opening loss in Las Vegas

The start to the season was less than ideal for the Washington men’s basketball team.

After 13 minutes, the Huskies trailed by 24 points while converting just 2 of 14 shots from the field and struggling to keep pace offensively with No. 2 Baylor.

Washington made a run late in the first half and cut its deficit to 12, but never got any closer and fell 86-52 in its opener at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Heading into the game, coach Mike Hopkins said he would learn a lot about a young UW team that debuted two new starters, four newcomers and played without suspended star Nahziah Carter.

“Tough night,” Hopkins said following the 34-point defeat. “We felt like we had good practices and we felt like we were ready. From the beginning of the game, we just looked a little bit tight. Some nerves and got down a deep deficit. … when you’re playing against a top team like this, that just can’t happen.

“We showed some signs, put some different lineups in and learned a lot about ourselves, but No. 1 it’s obvious we have to rebound the ball a lot better.”

Before their Dec. 3 matchup at Utah, the Huskies will need to address frontline deficiencies that Baylor exploited for a 50-19 edge in rebounding.

The Bears dominated inside with 21 offensive rebounds, which resulted in a 24-5 advantage in second-chance points.

Washington couldn’t keep Baylor off the glass or slow down a red-hot perimeter attack that sank 13 of 29 three-pointers.

The Huskies had hoped its revamped three-point attack would allow them to stay close to the Bears, but UW converted just 5 of 24 shots outside the arc.

Washington fell behind 31-7 with 7:21 remaining in the first half before scoring seven straight points and finishing the half on a 17-7 run to go into halftime down 38-24.

Last year, the Huskies overcame a 13-point deficit while upsetting then-No. 16 Baylor with a 67-64 win in the opener in Alaska.

This time, the Bears put the game away early in the second half with a 15-5 run to go up 53-29.

Washington trailed by as much as 37 points in its most lopsided defeat in Hopkins’ four-year tenure.

“We did a way better job defending the 3-point line,” Hopkins said when asked the difference between UW’s win over Baylor last year and Sunday’s defeat.

“You play a top team in the country and they go 13 for 29 (on three-pointers). Last year they were plus-4 on rebounding and didn’t hurt us in the paint. We held them to 32% near the basket.

“When we came back in last year’s game, we fought them pretty hard. I felt like there was moments tonight, but not consistent to beat a team of this caliber.”

RaeQuan Battle led Washington (0-1) with 10 points.

Jared Butler scored a game-high 20 points for Baylor (2-0) while Adam Flagler had 17, MaCio Teague 15 and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua 12.

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