By BILLY HEYEN
With less than a minute to go in Isaiah Stewart’s first collegiate game, Washington swung the ball around the perimeter before throwing the ball inside to its freshman center, who’d sealed off his defender in the lane. He turned quickly over his left shoulder and hooked the ball toward the basket with his right hand. It rolled around the rim and fell.
A timeout was called. Stewart unleashed a scream of “Let’s go.” He chest-bumped his teammates. As 30 more seconds of game clock soon showed, Stewart had just won the game for the Huskies.
ROC Heroics! @_ClutchCarter and @Dreamville_33 scored final 2 buckets as @UW_MBB came back to beat No. 16 Baylor in Alaska. Huskies ended game on a 21-5 run and were down 13 points at one point. pic.twitter.com/M9GIdUAFyb— Matt Trabold (@TrabsMatt) November 9, 2019
The former McQuaid star teamed with former Bishop Kearney star Nahziah Carter to lead Washington to a 67-64 upset of No. 16 Baylor in UW’s season opener on Friday night in Anchorage, Alaska. Stewart finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while Carter had a game-high 23 points to go with six rebounds.
Stewart’s first collegiate shot came on a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but he hesitated a bit before shooting and missed it off the rim to the left. Stewart missed his next shot as well on a righty hook shot in the lane, then couldn’t quite tap in a follow with his right hand. He was called for an offensive foul the next time down the floor. UW head coach Mike Hopkins gave Stewart a break after the first media timeout.
The freshman returned after less than two minutes of game time on the bench. He finally notched his first two points on a right-handed hook off glass from the right block about nine minutes into the game. The next time down the floor, Carter nailed a 3 from the left wing and the Rochester-natives were off and running.
Stewart pivoted into the lane from the left block a minute later and made another righty hook, this time with no glass needed. The next time down the floor, rinse-wash-repeat. Carter added to the Rochester-themed run with a lefty layup in transition.
Between the under-12 and under-8 media timeouts, Carter (five) and Stewart (six) combined for all 11 of Washington’s points.
Carter kept the deficit at 10 with less than five to go in the half with a left-handed block at the rim, then Stewart’s fellow frosh Jaden McDaniels hit a jumper at the other end to eat into Baylor’s lead.
With 2:30 to go in the first half, Stewart kicked the ball out from the post to Quade Green at the top of the key. Green swung it to Carter on the right wing, and he knocked down a high-arcing 3. The Huskies went to the half down seven despite turning the ball over 15 times in the first half.
Stewart assisted from the right block to a cutting McDaniels to get Washington on the board on its first second-half possession. Then Stewart tapped an offensive rebound to himself before finishing through a foul with his left hand. He made the foul shot to complete the three-point play.
Carter knocked a fadeaway down from just outside the lane about four minutes into the half to bring the Huskies within six as the Bears continued to hold their lead. Carter added a free throw a minute later. Three minutes later, Carter slammed the ball home with two hands along the baseline for two more points. He added another free throw after nearly dunking off an offensive rebound. Then Stewart threw down a righty slam to extend Washington’s consecutive points by Rochesterians to eight.
That’s where that spurt ended, but after two McDaniels free throws, Stewart used an up-fake right, stepped through to the left and finished to the left of his defender. The next possession, Stewart kicked out to Carter, who swished a 3 and brought UW within 59-51. That marked 13 of the last 15 Huskies points from the Section V duo.
Thanks to a 3-pointer from Albany-native Hameir Wright, along with blocks by Wright and Stewart, Washington cut the deficit to 63-57 with 3:15 to play.
Then with 1:35 to go, McDaniels kicked out to Carter on the right wing, and he swished a 3 to tie the game at 64-all.
That’s when Stewart made his hook in the lane, then he followed it up with a contest to force a Baylor miss. Carter grabbed the rebound, and Baylor had to foul. Carter made one foul shot, and Baylor missed its attempt to tie at the buzzer.
“(Carter) stepped up huge at the end — straight from the ‘ROC’,” Hopkins said postgame on the ESPN broadcast.
The Washington bench stormed onto the court, leaping up and down. The players still on the floor sprinted toward their teammates. At the center of the action, just as they’d been all game, were Carter and Stewart.