Leading by two points, the Huskies lost track of Chasson Randle who wiggled free on the perimeter and had a good look at a three-pointer for a brief moment.
However, the Stanford junior guard turned down the perimeter shot and drove inside for a potential tying short jumper in the lane.
Desmond Simmons, who minutes earlier drained a midrange jumper that gave the Washington men’s basketball team the lead for good, read the play and stepped in front of Randle with 5.5 seconds remaining.
An official called a charge, giving Washington possession and sealing its 64-60 Pac-12 win on Wednesday in front of 6,981 at Alaska Airlines Arena.
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“I saw Randle coming at me full speed and I knew he was going to go straight up with it,” Simmons said. “I saw him go off one leg. He was right in my path, so I figured I had to stand straight up and make sure he hit me first and hopefully, I’m outside the circle.”
The Huskies improved to 14-11 and 6-6 in Pac-12 to keep their slim NCAA tournament hopes alive.
More importantly, they snapped a three-game losing streak.
“We lost three in a row and there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about,” Simmons said. “The only thing I wanted to do was to get back on the court, get a win and get that bad taste out of our mouths.”
Simmons came up with a critical basket and the big defensive play at the end, but reserve guard Mike Anderson might have been the catalyst to the win.
Trailing 34-27 at halftime, forward Shawn Kemp Jr. and Anderson began the second half in place of Perris Blackwell and Andrew Andrews.
Washington began the half with a 12-2 run to take a 39-36 lead after Anderson (13 points) buried a three-pointer from the corner.
“It was one of those games where I couldn’t have been more proud of our guys,” Romar said. “Some guys really stepped up for us. Mike Anderson played the best basketball he has in a while tonight.
“Desmond didn’t score a lot of points but he was relentless. Those are the plays we expect Desmond to make at the end of that game, taking that charge. Those are the things he does that help you win ball games.”
While Simmons and Anderson made timely contributions, senior C.J. Wilcox and freshman Nigel Williams-Goss took care of nearly everything else.
“I was drained at the end,” said Wilcox, who scored the final UW’s final four points at the free-throw line and finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes. “We needed everybody.”
Williams-Goss added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.
Dwight Powell led Stanford (15-8, 6-5) with 18 points and Randle had 17.
“We got what we wanted,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said about Randle’s offensive foul. “Chasson was actually open for the three and he turned it down. That was fine, but I thought he was going to stop and try to take the pull-up after that. He just kept trying to be a little too close.
“The young man came up and took a charge. … He’s been our go-to guy all season long, and in those moments you want him to take those shots.”
Washington remained perfect at home against Pac-12 teams, improving to 5-0 and 12-2 overall.
“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been better on the road,” Romar said. “We still have two on the road but I think it’s pretty clear we’re just a different team this year when we’re at home.”
• Wilcox tied Bob Houbregs (1,774 points) and moved into fourth place on Washington’s all-time scoring list.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org