LOS ANGELES – Washington kept its NCAA tournament hopes alive with a comeback victory over Oregon State, 59-52. Consequently the Pac-10 can still hold out hope for at least another day that it won’t be a one-bid conference come Selection Sunday.
Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, the Huskies looked as if they would suffer the same fate Arizona State did a few hours before in getting upset by Stanford. Washington finally woke up with 12:33 left, when Isaiah Thomas hit a 3-pointer to tie the game, 37-37. About a minute later Elston Turner hit a 3-pointer to give Washington the lead for good.
“It became pretty clear to me that they were going to pack it in all night and not make it a high-scoring affair at all,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. “They were going to make us shoot 3s and because they were open early, we fell in love with it and it was fool’s gold. The 3 is fine if you move the ball, but we took too many. We did a much better job in the second half of moving the ball and preventing them from hitting 3s.”
After hitting 5-of-6 3-pointers in the first half, Oregon State only made two more in the second half, finishing with 7-of-14, as Washington established their paint presence, outscoring the Beavers 22-to-14 down low. Washington players admitted they snuck a peak at Arizona State’s upset loss before their game and came together at the half, vowing they would not suffer the same fate.
“We watched a little bit of it,” said Thomas. “In this league anybody can beat anybody on any given night so you just got to bring it. We didn’t bring it in that first half but we came together collectively at the half and dug down deep and got the win.”