Sophomore Terrence Ross has taken over late in some recent games, leading Washington into first place. Now if he would just start dominating earlier.
Now it has a name.
Still no one knows when it begins or how to get it started.
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Not Washington sophomore Terrence Ross, who has recently developed a knack for taking over games in the final minutes, and certainly not his coach, Lorenzo Romar.
“If I knew what it was all about, we’d certainly have him get it going much sooner,” Romar said, laughing. “I think early on he’s being patient and taking what’s there. It’s not as if he’s not doing other things to impact the game. He’s rebounding and playing defense.
“But lately in the second half, his scoring takes over. Call it ‘Terrence Time’ or whatever you want. The great ones do that. They give you what you need when you need it.”
Over the past seven games, Ross is averaging 4.4 points and shooting 29 percent from the field and 20 percent on three-pointers in the first half.
In the second halves, his scoring average spikes to 13.8 and he shoots 60 percent from the field and behind the arc.
“I try to do it in the first half, so it’s not a matter of me not trying,” Ross said. “It’s just the shots are falling for me in the second half. It’s just how it goes. Weird.”
Last Thursday against UCLA, Ross helped Washington erase a 10-point deficit with 6:02 left by scoring 10 of UW’s final 12 points during a 71-69 comeback win.
When the Huskies trailed Washington State by 10 points in the final 12 minutes, he spearheaded a late charge with 26 of his career-high 30 points in the second half of a 75-65 victory.
“He has shown the ability to take over games,” Romar said. “He sees it as, ‘This is what I can do. I score points. My shots are going in now, and I’ll just score the rest of them if you guys are OK.’ “
Ross made a critical three-pointer in the final three minutes during a 57-53 win at Utah, and he was nearly the star in a 79-77 loss to Marquette on Dec. 6. His midrange jumper with 17 seconds left gave the Huskies a one-point lead.
Before the season, senior co-captain Darnell Gant identified Ross as the team’s closer, but only lately has he come through in the clutch.
“I’m more comfortable with it,” Ross said. “I just have to stay calm. Not panic. Make sure the team is together and we’re playing as one big team instead of individual players.”
For Ross it’s always team first, even if the Huskies wish he was more selfish.
“Certain players, you don’t mind if they’re taking the lion’s share of the shots,” Gant said. “He’s one of them. You want Terrence shooting. Even contested shots. Because a contested shot for him is just as good as an open shot for someone else.”
As Washington (16-7, 9-2 Pac-12) prepares for Thursday’s 8 p.m. rematch with Oregon (16-7, 7-4), Ross returns home seeking to keep the first-place Huskies atop the conference.
“Going back there doesn’t really thrill me,” said Ross, the Class 5A Oregon player of the year in 2008. “I just look at it as another road game that we have to come out on top.”
The Ducks recruited Ross, but they never really had a chance at him. He led Portland’s Jefferson High School to a state title as a sophomore alongside childhood buddy Terrence Jones, who committed to UW before reversing himself and going to Kentucky.
Ross transferred to Montrose Christian School in Maryland before his junior year and returned to Jefferson early in his senior year, but was ruled ineligible.
He decommitted from Maryland and picked Washington among a list of suitors that included Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma and Oregon.
The Ducks were in transition at the time. They fired coach Ernie Kent and hired Dana Altman six days before Ross made his decision.
“It just turned out that it wasn’t the right place for me,” he said.
In less than a year, Ross has made the rapid ascent from freshman gunner to a gun-shy sophomore to a Pac-12 MVP candidate and possibly an NBA first-round draft pick.
He’s one of two players in the conference ranked among the top five in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (6.8).
Yet as good as Ross is, at times he’s sometimes overshadowed by Tony Wroten Jr., who averages 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Paired together they’re like fire and ice. Ross is silky smooth and soft-spoken while Wroten is a vocal, chest-thumping dervish. The freshman guard has taken 168 free-throw attempts, and Ross has 65.
At times, Washington fans would like to inject Ross with Wroten’s aggressive personality.
“If he had that, he’d be the best player in the country,” Wroten said. “Hands down. And we’d be undefeated right now.”
Wroten grinned and rubbed his bearded chin when asked which of Ross’ traits he’d like to possess.
“His jumping ability,” Wroten said. “I tell him I used to have that before I got injured and tore my ACL. But his is outrageous. He does things that I don’t see other people do.”
Wroten remembers a practice early this season. While everyone was resting after a hard workout, Ross entertained teammates with several windmill jams.
“It’s just crazy,” Wroten said.
“You can contain him sometimes, but there’s no such thing as stopping Terrence because of his all-around game. He can shoot and dribble. He’s athletic. He can jump. He can do it all.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @percyallen
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