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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 11, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Romar: “We needed this to feel good about ourselves”

thomas happy.JPG
Photo credit: Seattle Times – Dean Rutz

Short wrap-up tonight.
The Huskies survive 89-87 and advance which is what you have to do at this time of year. To quote Al Davis, “Just win baby.”
That’s all that matters. Style points get you nothing at this time of the year. Don’t fret over a defense that allowed Klay Thompson to set a Pac-10 Tournament scoring record with 43 points. He was flat out amazing. Great game by him, but in the end it was a better game from the Huskies who found production from everyone in the starting lineup.
Lorenzo Romar talked about the lineup change. He said he went with Terrence Ross over Aziz N’Diaye because he wanted to switch everything defensively and didn’t want to create a mismatch with the 7-foot center.
Ross made the coach look fantastic. He finished with 17 points, including 13 in the first half.
C.J. Wilcox carried Washington in the end, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the second half.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning took over for a two-minute stretch in the second half and scored six straight points. He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Justin Holiday did what he could against Thompson, but on this night nobody was stopping the WSU star. The UW fans behind the Husky bench were yelling “Jimmer” every time Thompson shot because he was having a Jimmer Fredette performance.
Still Holiday bounced back from a cold-shooting first half and finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
And finally, Isaiah Thomas was simply amazing. He never left the floor, playing 40 minutes for the first time in his career. Thomas led UW with 21 points and 11 assists, which was one shy of the tournament record.
His biggest assist may have come at halftime. Trailing 40-32, he reminded the Huskies they had been in this situation before. Last year they trailed Oregon State 31-22 in the first half of the quarterfinal before winning 59-52.
“Coach that was one of the first things he said,” Thomas said. “We were down 12 or 14 to Oregon State and we actually played better this time than we did last year at this point of the season.
“I yelled at the guys telling them we don’t want this to be our last game. We don’t want our season to end right now.”
And kudos to Romar for going against his instincts and instructing the UW players to intentionally foul in the final nine seconds when they had a three-point lead.
In the past, Romar has been a staunch critic of fouling in those situation. This time he worried Thompson might drain a three-pointer and send the game into overtime.
Give credit to the Huskies for pressuring the Cougars in the backcourt, which erased seven seconds off the clock. And Scott Suggs wisely fouled Reggie Moore before he could get the ball into a shooting motion.
Not that it mattered much, WSU coach Ken Bone admitted after the game he was in the process of calling timeout after Thompson scored on a putback. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they didn’t have any more timeouts and was given a technical foul.
Less than a second remained so WSU would have needed a miracle to win.
Still the Cougars never got the chance because Wilcox knocked down one of two free throws for the final points.
With the win, Washington improves to 21-10 and it remains off of the NCAA tournament bubble. The Huskies should receive at least an at-large berth, but they want to defend their conference tournament title.
Next up: No. 7 Oregon (16-16).
Meanwhile Washington State (19-12) is unlikely to receive a NCAA tournament invitation and the Cougars will likely find themselves hosting a NIT game.

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, Reggie Moore, Scott Suggs

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