SEATTLE – Scratch from the list two more strategies for stopping the University of Washington’s unstoppable offense in home games.
Neither dimmed lights nor a blinded Isaiah Thomas could slow the Huskies on Saturday evening. Even in darkness, UW continued to shine at home during an 87-76 win over Stanford at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The Huskies (17-7 overall, 9-4 Pac-10) overcame a power shortage to make their first run of Saturday’s game, then got an incredible performance from a blurry-eyed Thomas over the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first half to put the Cardinal away.
“I really couldn’t see,” Thomas said of his 14-point outburst over the final 2:36 of the first half, which came despite a blurry left eye that had been poked earlier in the game. “But the shots were going in, and my teammates were finding me. Luckily, the shots were going in.”
Thomas overcame a slow start, getting poked in the eye, and sitting out four minutes while his teammates started a run without him before hitting four 3-pointers and adding a pair of free throws down the stretch to give UW a 48-31 halftime lead.
Even before that eye-opening performance, the Huskies had to deal with some altered sightlines when a power shortage delayed the game a few minutes and left the court in dim light for about five minutes of play. UW went on a 16-7 run while playing under less-than-full power, then continued to distance themselves after Thomas came off the floor with the minor eye injury that was caused by a collision with teammate Darnell Gant on a defensive rotation.
“It was really good to see the guys pick it up,” head coach Lorenzo Romar said of the Huskies’ performance while Thomas was saddled by poor shooting and injury over the first 17 1/2 minutes of the game. “Our bench was, maybe, the MVP of this game. Guys came off the bench and held the fort down in the first half.”
Thomas sat out four minutes before returning to the floor and scoring 14 of his team-high 22 points down the stretch of the first half.
“I was seeing two of everything,” said Thomas, who had four 3-pointers and a pair of free throws in a span of 2:36. “I don’t know how they went in.”
Stanford (13-11, 6-7) outscored the Huskies 45-39 in the second half to get within the closest margin (11 points) of any UW opponent at Hec Ed this season.