LAS VEGAS — Down three points in the final seconds, Paul Mulcahy got off a potentially game-tying three-pointer from the corner.
However, his shot rattled in and out and the Huskies fell 86-81 to No. 20 Colorado State in the Legends of Basketball Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday at the MGM Grand Arena.
Moses Wood finished with a season-high 21 points and eight rebounds while Keion Brooks Jr. had 20 points and seven rebounds for UW, which fell to 4-3.
Sahvir Wheeler added 13 points and 12 assists while Mulcahy, who missed the previous game, returned and had 14 points and five assists.
Less than five minutes into the game, the Rams lost their third-leading scorer senior guard Nique Clifford who collected a flagrant 2 technical and ejected after fouling Braxton Meah.
CSU coach Niko Medved complained to referees and tensions erupted between the players on the court during heated verbal exchanges and a few hard fouls given by both teams.
Washington led 12-11 with 12:40 left in the first half when coach Mike Hopkins subbed for 6-foot-11 center Franck Kepnang to play alongside 7-1 Meah and highlight a big lineup that also included Koren Johnson, Wood and Mulcahy.
The results were less than desired for the Huskies.
On three ensuing offensive trips, the Rams scored on a putback, three-pointer and a three-point play (layup and free throw) to take their first lead at 19-12.
Meah went to the bench, but CSU pushed it lead to 21-12 with 9:34 left.
Wood made three-pointers to start and end a 13-2 run that allowed Washington to regain momentum and surge ahead 25-23.
The Huskies built a seven-point advantage (41-34) and went into halftime up 44-41.
Early in the second half, Brooks thrilled the crowd with an alley-oop dunk from Wheeler to cap an 8-0 run give UW a 62-55 lead.
That’s when Colorado State switched to a 1-3-1 zone that sparked its 10-2 run and regain control 65-64 at the 8:23 mark.
Neither team led by more than (five) points the rest of the way.
Washington hosts Montana State on Tuesday before Gonzaga comes town on Saturday.