Stephen Thompson Jr. nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer and Oregon State beat Washington 82-81. UW not only lost the game, but almost surely any chance of earning an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.
CORVALLIS, Ore. — This one hurt.
Washington freshman guard Dejounte Murray tracked Stephen Thompson Jr. the length of the court and ran side by side with the Oregon State freshman guard.
Thompson had just 3.3 seconds to get off a miracle shot and he ran to the three-point line before shuffling his feet and launching a long jumper with Murray in his face and extending both hands.
UW @ Oregon, 5:30 p.m., ESPNU
The ball hung in the air for what seemed like a lifetime before settling in the net as the buzzer sounded — giving the Beavers an improbable 82-81 victory on Wednesday.
The Huskies stood in disbelief as OSU players exploded off the bench and smothered Thompson beneath a mosh pit at midcourt. Several hundred of the 5,593 at Gill Coliseum ran on the court and swarmed the jubilant Beavers.
Murray turned and looked at the UW bench with a blank face. The pain of this loss was evident on his face.
The Huskies waited for agonizingly long seconds for officials to review the replay on courtside monitors holding out hope that time ran out before Thompson’s shot or that his foot was on the line. But UW’s prayers went unanswered.
When it was over, coach Lorenzo Romar was left to ponder what might have been.
“There’s a million things you could do,” he said when asked if he considered double teaming Thompson and forcing a pass. “With 3.3 seconds left on the clock and the guy has to go the length of the floor, he’s got to hit a leaping leaner like that from 21 feet.
“The fact that it was a two-point game made it difficult and took away from certain things that we could do.”
Washington not only suffered its fourth consecutive defeat on the road, but the Huskies almost surely lost any chance of earning an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament — barring wins in their final two regular-season games and an extended run in the Pac-12 tournament.
However, realistically, Washington (16-12, 8-8 Pac-12) will need to win the conference tournament in Las Vegas in two weeks to snap its five-year NCAA tournament drought.
If the Huskies are sitting at home on Selection Sunday, they’ll lament nonconference home losses in December to Oakland and UC Santa Barbara. They’ll regret an 81-80 defeat last week at Colorado.
And they’ll surely remember this one.
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“It’s a tough loss,” Romar said. “Second half I thought we did a really good job. We made shots tonight. They pounded us on the back boards, but we made shots. They shot 29 percent in the second half.
“We did a lot of things again that would allow you to win a ballgame, but we don’t have anything to show for it.”
Washington fell behind by 21-9 at the start and clawed back in the game thanks to Andrew Andrews’ hot shooting and a handful of spectacular plays from Dejounte Murray (15 points) and Marquese Chriss (14).
The Huskies trailed 49-45 at halftime and they were down 68-60 with 9:23 left when it seemed like they took control of the game.
Andrews drained a three-pointer that put UW ahead 72-69 at the 6:23 mark. He also canned a pair of free throws that gave the Huskies a 79-73 lead with 1:48 left.
After Oregon State forward Drew Eubanks sank a layup, freshman forward Tres Tinkle converted a long off-balance jumper to cut UW’s lead to 79-77 with 22 seconds left.
At the other end, freshman guard David Crisp converted one of two free throws before Tinkle made two foul shots.
Andrews, who scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, was clutch down the stretch.
However, his missed foul shot on UW’s last possession loomed large. He ranks second in the Pac-12 with an 84.1 free-throw percentage, but he misfired on the second of two fouls shots that would have given UW a three-point lead with 3.3 seconds left.
Ahead by two, the Huskies couldn’t foul.
“The main thing is we did not want them to get a running start and they got a running start,” Romar said. “We just wanted to keep them in front. Dejounte contested the shot as well as you can contest a shot. He did a tremendous job. The guy hit a leaner.”
UW fans griped via social media about replays that showed Thompson took extra steps before his game-winning shot.
“He traveled,” Romar said when asked about the last play. “But they didn’t call it.”
|Wednesday’s resultsColorado 75, Arizona 72Oregon 76, Washington St. 62Oregon St. 82, UW 81|