LAS VEGAS — In their previous four trips to the Pac-12 tournament, Mike Hopkins and the Huskies either lost in the first round or advanced to the championship game.
Given that factoid and their 82-70 victory over No. 11 seed Utah on Wednesday night, perhaps the No. 6 seed Washington men’s basketball team will make a run this week in Las Vegas.
Certainly, UW got off to a nice start at T-Mobile Arena with a dominant performance in the second half for its third straight win.
Terrell Brown Jr. finished with 22 points and five assists while Jamal Bey added 19 points. Cole Bajema chipped in 14 points off the bench and Emmitt Matthews Jr. had 10 for Washington.
The Huskies (17-14) advance to meet No. 3 seed USC (25-6) in Thursday’s quarterfinal with the winner facing either No. 2 UCLA or No. 7 Washington State on Friday in the semifinals.
The Trojans have won four straight games against the Huskies, including a 79-69 victory on Feb. 17 at Galen Center.
During the regular season, Washington beat Utah 77-73 in double overtime on Jan. 29 at Alaska Airlines Arena and 74-68 on Jan. 6 at Huntsman Center.
On Wednesday, the Huskies led for nearly 13 minutes in the first half and was up by six points before taking a 40-37 lead into the break.
Still, UW never had complete control of the game until midway in the second half.
Bey unlocked a 44-44 tie with a three-pointer to spark a 19-4 run capped by Emmitt Matthews Jr. driving layup that put UW up 63-48 with 9:30 left.
The decisive spurt included six straight points from Brown, a deep three-pointer from Bajema and Daejon Davis drawing his second offensive foul.
Matthews knocked down his second 3 that gave the Huskies their largest lead and pushed them ahead 15 points (66-51) with 8:24 remaining.
The Utes never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Marco Anthony finished with 18 points and Branden Carlson had 14 and Gabe Madsen 12 for Utah, which finished 11-20.