- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - It took only two games for Markelle Fultz to show an ability to take over and carry Washington to a win.

Sure, he’s a freshman. But Fultz isn’t an ordinary freshman.

“He has the ability to make everyone else look a little better and he was doing that tonight,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.

Fultz scored 35 points, including 21 in the second half, and Washington pulled away for a 104-88 win over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night.

Washington’s freshman star posted his second straight 30-point game, surpassing the mark with a pair of emphatic dunks that finally gave the Huskies a comfortable lead. Fultz’s first slam with 4:20 left pushed Washington’s lead to 89-78. He stole an inbound pass on Fullerton’s next possession and his second one-handed slam pushed the lead to 13 with 3:46 remaining.

Fultz was 10 of 14 shooting and added six assists, consistently showing a knack for breaking down the defense and getting into the lane to create his own shot or find teammates.

“I think my ability to get to the rim is always open,” Fultz said. “I realized it once I made a couple of threes it opened up the paint even more.”

Tre’ Coggins led Cal State Fullerton (2-1) with 23 points but was quiet after a torrid first 8 minutes of the game. Coggins tried to outscore Washington by himself in the opening minutes. Coggins had 17 points in the first 8 minutes but scored just three points the rest of the first half. Jackson Rowe added 16 points for the Titans.

David Crisp added 17 points as Washington (1-1) put five players in double figures. Matisse Thybulle added 15 points, Malik Dime had 14 points and five blocked shots, and Dominic Green added 11.

It was a sloppy game that featured 54 total fouls - 27 by each team - and 73 total free-throw attempts. But it was the Huskies finally pulling away late.

Washington led by 11 at halftime, but the lead was gone barely 6 minutes into the second half. The Titans started the half on a 21-10 surge and pulled even at 63-all with 13:50 left. Coggins’ sixth 3-pointer later pulled the Titans even at 68-all, but the Huskies scored the next 10 points, going up 78-68 with 8:35 left on Noah Dickerson’s 18-footer.

BIG PICTURE

Cal State Fullerton: The Titans proved they may be better than the sixth place they were picked in the preseason Big West poll. Washington was the premier opportunity on their nonconference schedule, although Saturday’s game at UNLV provides Fullerton another chance at a name victory.

Washington: The Huskies were better defensively but still had problems allowing dribble penetration and staying out of foul trouble. The Titans shot 33 free throws, part of the reason they were able to hang around despite going more than six minutes of the second half without a field goal.

CONTROL THE BOARDS

Washington’s big concern coming out of its opening loss to Yale was an inability to control the backboard. The Huskies were outrebounded 42-29 in the opener, but controlled the glass against Fullerton. The Titans had just five total rebounds in the first half and were outrebounded 36-19 for the game. Most important, the Huskies allowed Fullerton just two offensive rebounds.

“We were putting a body on people and going after the ball,” Green said.

UP NEXT

Cal State Fullerton: The Titans continue their road swing at UNLV on Saturday.

Washington: The Huskies host Northern Arizona on Sunday.

LAST WORD

“It’s almost like he’s computer-generated or something,” Romar on Fultz.

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