LAS VEGAS – The state of Washington’s bid for a second NCAA tournament team ended here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena late Thursday night, as third-seeded Oregon held off sixth-seeded Washington 80-77 in an overtime thriller in the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament quarterfinals.
The Huskies (18-15) seem a strong candidate to receive a bid to the NIT. Coach Lorenzo Romar said he’s not interested in playing in the CBI.
As for the NIT, “I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Romar said.
Oregon, meanwhile, will face 10th-seed Utah in the semifinals after taking control early in an overtime period forced by Johnathan Loyd’s free throws with 16.6 seconds left in regulation.
A good bit of craziness helped delay the scheduled 8:30 p.m. tipoff until about 8:57 or so. The 6 p.m. game between No. 2 seed California and 10th-seeded Utah went to overtime after Utes guard Jarred DuBois hit a step-back 3-pointer in the final seconds.
By the time the Utes were done running the Bears out of the gym in overtime, winning by a final score of 79-69, it was nearly Friday on the East Coast.
Folks who laid heads on pillows missed a good one.
Arsalan Kazemi’s aggression in the paint proved the difference in overtime, as the Iranian forward skied for offensive rebounds, scored inside and made free throws. The tired Huskies watched as Kazemi scored 11 of Oregon’s 16 overtime points, including a three-point play that put the Ducks (24-8) ahead 75-67 with 1:17 to play.
UW cut the lead to 75-71 after Abdul Gaddy split a one-and-one with 28.1 seconds left, but the closest the Huskies got after that was within three points on freshman guard Andrew Andrews’ meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Washington built a slim 56-50 lead with 7:05 to go in regulation after Andrews made a 3-pointer and a free throw, and Gaddy and Aziz N’Diaye both converted inside as part of a 10-2 run.
Then back came the Ducks, using a three-point play by big man Tony Woods and a smooth baseline jumper by E.J. Singler to continue the back-and-forth affair and cut the Huskies’ lead to 58-57 inside the 5-minute mark.
Scott Suggs countered with a tough, driving layup. But Ducks guard Loyd answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the score.
Oregon took the lead 2 minutes later on an alley-oop dunk by center Tony Woods, though C.J. Wilcox tied the score again by hitting a tough floater with 1:48 remaining.
Wilcox bested that effort on the Huskies’ next possession, dribbling and spinning before sinking a turnaround jumper with 48.6 seconds left to put his team ahead, 64-62.
Loyd again tied it, this time with two free throws after Gaddy fouled him shooting a jumper with 16.6 seconds to go.
Wilcox had the ball stripped from him on UW’s final possession of regulation, and the ball trickled out of bounds as the clock expired.
There wasn’t a 19-point lead to blow this time, as there was in UW’s narrow 64-62 first-round victory over Washington State on Wednesday. But the Huskies did lead by nine points midway through the second half.
Oregon slowly chipped away at that modest deficit, eventually taking the lead back at 32-31 on Waverly Austin’s bucket with 4:01 left in the half.
Wilcox finished with 19 points to lead UW. Woods led four Ducks in double figures with 18.