Because they knew the importance of what beating No. 8 Arizona would mean, the Washington Huskies were left deflated and demoralized.
Instead of a season-saving victory, the UW men’s basketball team is riding a four-game losing streak for the first time in five years with no certainty about when it will end.
“Right now, tonight, our guys are really down. Our guys know that we came out ready to play,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “When you come out and you realize you didn’t give it your all, that’s tough. But when you fight like we did tonight and you come up short, it takes more than a couple hours to get over that.”
Nick Johnson had 15 points, five in the final 2 minutes, and Arizona rallied from an early deficit for a 57-53 victory Thursday night in Seattle that snapped a three-game losing streak to UW.
Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, the Pac-12’s leading scorer in conference games, was limited to 11 points through a combination of foul trouble and harassing defense by Johnson. Scott Suggs added 11 points for the Huskies, but Washington (12-9, 4-4 Pac-12) made just 1 of 12 3-point attempts, missed seven free throws and committed 17 turnovers.
When Suggs scored on a drive with 1:04 left, the Huskies trailed just 54-53 and were down 55-53 after Johnson split a pair of free throws. Washington called for a backdoor lob to Wilcox and the play was open. But Gaddy’s pass was far too deep and Wilcox did his best just to get a hand on it. The turnover forced Washington to foul with 26.8 seconds left. Johnson hit both this time and after Aziz N’Diaye missed a desperation 3, the Wildcats ran out the clock.
The Wildcats (18-2, 6-2) closed on an 11-5 run that featured big shots from Johnson and Hill and got plenty of help from the careless Huskies.
California 71, Oregon State 68: Richard Solomon’s dunk with 17.6 seconds remaining capped a big run over the final 8 minutes, and the Golden Bears rallied from 12 points down in the second half to defeat the Beavers at Berkeley, Calif.
The Golden Bears (12-8, 4-4) trailed most of the second half and were down 59-53 before Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs combined to score 12 of Cal’s final 18 points.
Roberto Nelson scored 25 points for Oregon State (11-10, 1-7).