March 12, 2011 in Sports

Huskies win Pac-10 tourney title in OT

Associated Press
 
Jae Hong photo

Washington guard Isaiah Thomas pumps his fist during the second half Pac-10 conference championship in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 12, 2011. Washington won 77-75 in overtime.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES — Isaiah Thomas hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer, lifting Washington past No. 16 Arizona 77-75 Saturday for the Pac-10 tournament championship in the first overtime title game in league history.

Thomas scored 19 of his 28 points in the first half, and freshman Terrence Ross added 16 for the third-seeded Huskies (23-10), who successfully defended their title and earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Pac-10 player of the year Derrick Williams had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the top-seeded Wildcats (27-7), who won the regular-season title and are likely to return to the NCAA tournament after the school’s 25-year run of appearances ended last year.

Washington’s C.J. Wilcox hit a 3-pointer that tied the game 68-all with 7 seconds left in regulation between the teams that split in the regular season.

The Huskies outscored Arizona 9-7 in overtime, taking a 73-70 lead on a basket by Wilcox before Matthew Bryan-Amaning was called for his fifth foul.

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar stomped his foot, with his staff and players insisting Justin Holiday had committed the foul instead. Solomon Hill, who finished with 12 points, made both free throws to draw the Wildcats within one.

Thomas found Wilcox alone in the corner in front of the Huskies’ bench and he took a few big steps and dunked for a 75-72 lead. Kevin Parrom’s 3-pointer tied the game at 75, giving Washington a final possession with the threat of a second overtime looming.

But Thomas wouldn’t allow it.

He calmly got off the jumper under pressure that sent Washington’s fans into delirium as the first repeat Pac-10 tourney champions since Arizona won in 1990 and 2002, when the tourney resumed.

It was Washington’s first win over a ranked Arizona team in six years, when the Huskies beat the Wildcats in the 2005 tourney title game. The teams were the Pac-10’s only ones in the Top 25 this season, although the Huskies eventually dropped out.

Thomas carried his team in the first half with 19 points, the most by any Washington player in a half this season. Bryan-Amaning, the Huskies’ second-leading scorer, had no points and no rebounds with two fouls in the half.

The Huskies led 59-55 when Arizona ran off eight straight points to go up 63-59. Washington went 61/2 minutes without a basket before Thomas, Ross and Wilcox hit 3-pointers in succession to force overtime.

Arizona played catch-up most of the second half until taking the lead on two free throws by Williams with 2:56 left.

The Wildcats were going for their fifth league tourney championship, and first since 2002. They fell to 0-3 against the Huskies in the tournament.

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