March 12, 2011 in Sports

Washington dumps Ducks to qualify for Pac-10 title game

Greg Beacham Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Joevan Catron is defended by UW’s Darnell Gant, left, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES – The Hollywood spotlight that shines on the Pac-10 tournament must bring out the showtime in Isaiah Thomas and his fellow Washington Huskies, who are one game away from another championship.

C.J. Wilcox scored 14 points, freshman Terrence Ross had 13 in his second career start, and Washington finally shook Oregon to advance to the Pac-10 basketball title game with a 69-51 victory Friday night.

Thomas had 10 points and a tournament record-tying 12 assists in another peerless playmaking game for the third-seeded Huskies, who will attempt to defend their 2010 crown against top-seeded Arizona today at Staples Center.

Thomas, the Most Outstanding Player in last season’s tournament, highlighted a night of stellar distribution against the Ducks with alley-oops to the athletic Ross and Justin Holiday, who scored seven points.

“When you’re getting assists, it feels like every pass is open,” said Thomas, who has 23 assists in Washington’s two tournament games. “My guys do a good job just getting open and knocking down shots and finishing at the rim.”

The Huskies (22-10) led throughout the final 37 minutes with a balanced offense and a tough zone defense, but they didn’t pull away until scoring eight consecutive points down the stretch, a rally highlighted by Wilcox’s four-point play with 3:58 to go. Washington finished the game on a 14-4 run.

“For the second game in a row, we had a team contribution,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said after seven Huskies scored at least six points. “That’s something that can make you really excited as coaches, when everyone chips in and does a great job for you.”

Scott Suggs had 10 points and Darnell Gant added eight for the Huskies, who stumbled into the Pac-10 tournament with three losses in their last five games – but at least with Thomas running the show, Washington has a knack for tournament theatrics.

Washington won three straight games in last year’s conference tournament at Staples during a March surge that ended in the NCAA regional semifinals. The Huskies also love L.A.: They’ve won seven straight games down here, sweeping their regular-season visits to UCLA and Southern California.

“We’ve just got to stay focused and be prepared,” Ross said. “And if we have trouble, we just have to remember how we handled it tonight.”

Joevan Catron had 18 points and nine rebounds for seventh-seeded Oregon (16-17), which played its third game in three nights, including a win over second-seeded UCLA.

Washington 69, Oregon 51

 Oregon (16-17) – Singler 3-9 3-3 10, Nared 0-1 0-0 0, Catron 5-14 7-8 18, Sim 1-5 0-0 2, Armstead 5-13 1-3 12, Loyd 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Strowbridge 3-11 0-0 7. Totals 18-56 11-14 51.

Washington (22-10) – Bryan-Amaning 2-9 2-2 6, Holiday 3-5 1-1 7, Thomas 2-11 5-8 10, Wilcox 4-9 3-3 14, Ross 6-12 0-0 13, N’Diaye 0-0 1-2 1, Hosley 0-0 0-0 0, Suggs 3-6 2-2 10, Sherrer 0-0 0-0 0, Gant 4-7 0-0 8. Totals 24-59 14-18 69.

Halftime – UW 30-21. 3-Point Goals – Oregon 4-24 (Catron 1-3, Armstead 1-4, Singler 1-4, Strowbridge 1-8, Nared 0-1, Loyd 0-1, Sim 0-3), UW 7-22 (Wilcox 3-7, Suggs 2-4, Thomas 1-4, Ross 1-5, Holiday 0-2). Fouled Out – None. Rebounds – Oregon 34 (Catron 9), UW 42 (Gant 10). Assists – Oregon 9 (Armstead 6), UW 17 (Thomas 12). Total Fouls – Oregon 19, UW 15. A – 13,190.

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