Huskies men surge late to escape Pullman with a win over Washington State

Now 2-1 in Pac-12 play, the Huskies have already matched their conference win total from all of last season.

PULLMAN — On an impromptu drive from Spokane to Pullman spurred by travel issues, Mike Hopkins sat in the back of a rental car at 1 in the morning watching a video of last year’s Washington-Washington State men’s basketball game when he noticed one Husky distinguish himself in the loss.

“I’m watching this kid just take it to the face of the defenders,” the UW coach said.

That kid was Carlos Johnson.

At the time, Hopkins had no idea Johnson would once again dominate the Cougars and be the catalyst off the bench in Saturday’s 70-65 comeback win in front of 3,477 at Beasley Coliseum.

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“Carlos Johnson came in and just changed the game,” Hopkins said. “He was the Human Defibrillator tonight. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit.”

Said Johnson: “I just go in there and bring the grit and the grind and do whatever I need to do to win.”

Johnson provided no advance warning for his latest heroics. He didn’t play in the previous three games and logged just one minute in the first half against WSU when the Huskies trailed 30-27.

Washington fell behind by 10 points (45-35) with 14:56 left and its situation appeared dour when big man Noah Dickerson, UW’s second leading scorer and leading rebounder, fouled out with 8:09 left.

The Huskies trailed by five points at the time and were down 57-50 a minute later when Johnson took over.

“Right when Noah fouled out I looked straight at (Johnson) and he didn’t even have to say nothing,” guard David Crisp said. “He looked at me and said I’m going to hold it down.

“That’s his motto the whole year. I got your back. I’m going to hold it down for you. That was huge. I can’t even put it into words how big he was for us.”

After UW went down seven points, Johnson crossed up WSU forward Robert Franks, darted to the rim and delivered a monster dunk that seemed to shift the momentum.

“I think he dunked on me,” Hopkins said laughing. “I felt it like I was on the other side. And you know what that does, right? That’s like a human ‘eeemph.’ You know. … It was just awesome. It changed the tone.”

Johnson, whom Hopkins affectionately called the Human Defibrillator and Energizer Bunny, finished with a…

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