For most of the game, I had confidence that Hartford had a real shot at beating this tough Pac-12 team. It was a back and forth battle the entire way, Hartford proving that mid-majors can indeed run with the big dogs and if they play their cards right, walk away with a win.
With Washington and Hartford fans on upset alert, the game was 67-65 in favor of Washington with only one minute left to play. Hartford had an incredibly real chance ... until the Hawks seemed to panic and hit foul trouble. By the end of the game, Hartford had committed 21 fouls to Washington's 15, something the Hawks are going to have to work on prior to America East play.
There were two main points in the game that, if they hadn't occurred, would have definitely pushed Hartford over the edge for its first win over a Pac-12 team. The first was a combo personal foul and technical called on Corban Wroe with five minutes left which gave the Huskies three of their possible four points at the free throw line. The second was Mark Nwakamma fouling out with seventeen seconds left in the game. Those free throws pushed the Huskies' lead from three points to five, making it a sure win.
When asked about how he felt about the game, Hartford coach John Gallagher said, "I am not happy."
I feel that sums up the feeling most of the Hartford squad had as they walked off the court after a 73-67 loss. They lost not only a game that they should have won, but it was a homecoming for junior Nate Sikma as he grew up not too far from the arena.
Despite their loss, the Hawks played an impressive game, shooting 55.8 percent from the field and hit 9 of 18 from beyond the arc, while the Huskies only shot 44.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. What killed Hartford was the Huskies' 17 more trips to the free throw line.
While the game didn't go exactly as planned, they have to put this behind them to gear up for conference play. Their first game is Saturday against the Albany Great Danes, who made their way through the America East Championship last year to grab a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Wes Cole's most recent tweet seems to convey the attitude they need: