No. 1 seeded Washington lost to Oregon State, 86-84, in the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament quarterfinals.
LOS ANGELES — With his head in his hands, Tony Wroten Jr. walked off the Staples Center court desolate and inconsolable.
He poured in a personal-best 29 points — one shy of Washington’s modern-day postseason record — but the Huskies needed a little more in their tense Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal against Oregon State.
Wroten was so good for so long, but with the game and possibly an NCAA tournament berth hanging in the balance, Washington’s star freshman guard missed four free throws in the final 18.3 seconds.
Following the stunning 86-84 defeat, the Huskies must now wait until Selection Sunday to learn if they’ll receive an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.
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“Right now we’re just kind of playing the waiting game to see what’s going to happen,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I do believe we will be playing in the postseason somewhere, just not sure where and what tournament it’s going to be.”
Top-seeded Washington had hoped to control its postseason fate and capture a threepeat at the conference tournament to secure an automatic berth to the NCAAs.
Wroten had the Huskies’ destiny in his hands, and his free throws gave them a 79-73 lead with 2:44 left.
He entered the contest shooting 57.5 percent at the line, but late in the game he made seven straight, including a pair with 1:17 to play, giving Washington an 83-79 lead.
A three-pointer by Ahmad Starks and Jared Cunningham’s layup over Abdul Gaddy put Oregon State on top, 84-83.
With 31 seconds to play, Washington had plenty of time to answer.
On the ensuing possession, Wroten took the ball hard to the basket and drew a foul. He missed both foul shots.
“After the first two misses he was really down on himself and I tried to encourage him,” senior co-captain Darnell Gant said. “Even though he didn’t seize that moment, I tried to stay encouraging toward him and let him know we still have a chance to win this game.”
At the other end, Cunningham also missed a pair of freebies, giving Washington and Wroten a chance at redemption.
This time he was fouled away from the basket and walked confidently to the line with 8.7 seconds remaining.
After Wroten short-armed the first attempt, he put his hands on his knees and shook his head in disbelief.
“That one looked a little heavy to me,” Romar said. “The other ones, they looked fine.”
When the next shot rattled out of the rim, Wroten stood motionless at the line as everyone else scrambled to secure the rebound.
After Cunningham made two free throws to make it 86-83, Terrence Ross was fouled with two seconds to play. He made the first and intentionally missed the second. But the shot didn’t hit the rim, and Oregon State gained possession.
Cunningham was fouled and missed two more free throws but the rebound went out of bounds off the Huskies with less than one second remaining. Oregon State inbounded the ball and time expired on Washington’s bid for a threepeat.
Later inside the Washington locker room, Wroten sat silently, fiddled with his cellphone and declined to answer questions.
“He’s down right now, but he’s a great player with a short memory,” said C.J. Wilcox, who finished with 16 points.
“He’ll bounce back.”
Ross tallied 15 points and Gaddy had 13 points and six assists for Washington, which trailed 46-33 at halftime and was down 51-37 early in the second half.
The Huskies used an 18-3 run to regain the lead.
Wroten brought them all the way back when he sank a free throw that put them ahead 55-54 with 12:04 remaining. Washington led by as many as eight points (66-58) midway in the second half and seemed to have the game under control.
“In my mind, that’s when we lost,” Wilcox said. “We had a chance to put them away right there, but we let them back in the game.”
Devon Collier scored 19 points and Cunningham had 18 in the first victory in which a No. 9 seed toppled a No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 (or Pac-10) tournament.
The defeat is the second consecutive loss for the Huskies (21-10), who are sitting on the NCAA tournament bubble.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Ross said. “We’ve just got to wait and see.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @percyallen
|OREGON ST. (19-13)|
Percentages: FG .500, FT .531. Three-point goals: 5-11, .455 (Starks 4-6, Brandt 1-2, Cunningham 0-3). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 4 (Moreland 4). Turnovers: 11 (Cunningham 4, Collier 3, Starks 2, Barton, Moreland). Steals: 5 (Cunningham 2, Collier, Starks, Burton). Technical fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .500, FT .462. Three-point goals: 8-21, .381 (Gaddy 3-7, Wilcox 3-7, Ross 2-5, Simmons 0-1, Wroten 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 5 (Wroten 2, Ross, Gant, Kemp, Jr.). Turnovers: 12 (Wroten 4, Ross 2, Gaddy 2, N’Diaye 2, Wilcox, Kemp, Jr.). Steals: 4 (Gant, Wroten, N’Diaye, Wilcox). Technical fouls: None.
Attendance: N/A. Officials: Chris Rastatter, Kevin Brill, Bobby McRoy.