Freshman guard Bryce Washington has been one of the foundational pieces of Penn men’s basketball’s strong first-year recruiting class. Over the weekend, his heroics helped the Quakers clinch the outright Big 5 title.
With 23 points, Washington led the Red and Blue in scoring against Saint Joseph’s while displaying some impressive marksmanship. His career night included shooting 6-of-12 from behind the arc, increasing his team-leading three-point percentage to just a shade over 45 percent.
As impressive as the career-high six threes were, it is just as impressive that Washington attempted 12 of them in the first place. Coach Steve Donahue continued to put the ball in the freshman's hands late in the game, designing plays that opened up space for him in the corner, evidence of a trust that few players have earned.
Washington’s fearlessness made him a threat from anywhere on the court, as he showed he could sink quick shots even when there was a hand in his face. However, the Quakers' ball movement allowed the guard plenty of space on the wings to knock down open threes on multiple occasions.
Spot-up shooting isn’t the only area where Washington helped the Quakers, however. His relentless hustle helped him make plays all over the floor on both offense and defense, as he also racked up 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Washington outjumped St. Joe's bigs on multiple occasions.
After consistently scoring buckets throughout the game, Washington continued producing in the clutch. With St. Joe’s hanging tight late into the contest, Washington gave the Quakers some much-needed breathing room with a quick-trigger three to increase their lead to six with just over two minutes to play.
Washington has shown that he is a qualified starter, a position he was put in early on after junior guard Ryan Betley’s season-ending injury in the Red and Blue's first game. His scoring touch will be needed as the Quakers begin conference play next week with a weekend back-to-back at Cornell and Columbia.