UW coach's technical foul with 12:16 to play ignites his moribund team to a 38-18 closing run.
For all the tangible evidence of Washington’s 75-65 basketball victory Sunday over Washington State — the 30 points by Terrence Ross, a huge rebounding advantage by the Huskies — the game will likely be remembered more for what happened on the benches.
Surging onto the floor to call a second-half timeout, WSU coach Ken Bone slipped and fell to the Hec Edmundson Pavilion deck, maybe the most celebrated spill in Seattle since Tommy Lasorda’s keister hit the third-base coach’s box at the 2001 All-Star Game at Safeco Field.
“That was the plan,” a sheepish but good-natured Bone said afterward, referring to the timeout call. “I don’t think they ever saw it.”
Of more impact on the game was the technical foul assessed Washington coach Lorenzo Romar with 12:16 remaining. After Faisal Aden downed the two free throws, the Cougars had a 47-37 lead.
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On the next UW possession, Darnell Gant appeared to go into the cylinder to deposit Tony Wroten’s shot, but it counted, and the Huskies sailed off on a 15-2 run to get the lead and it grew into a 38-18 finishing kick.
Asked if he thought Romar had intent behind the technical, Bone said, “Yeah, there usually is. It was timely. Like most coaches, he knows his team. They fed off that energy.”
Until then, the Cougars essentially had the Huskies eating out of their hand. They threw up a zone defense that troubled Washington, which shot five air balls and made only 10 of its first 41 shots.
But immediately after the technical, the Cougars hit a 3-for-12 stretch while Washington heated up, fueled by Ross and Darnell Gant.
When the Huskies missed, it was often a profitable possession anyway. They had 22 offensive rebounds, as the Cougars paid the price for zone defense.
“They were out there playing volleyball,” said Aden. “Even their little guys were getting rebounds. We’re not a big and athletic like other teams, but 22 offensive rebounds — and we still only lost by 10. We kind of beat ourselves.”
Added forward Brock Motum, “Sometimes they’d throw up an air ball and a guy would come get it. Sometimes that seemed to be their best offense.”
Bone said he was “looking to see if guys were leaking out (for transition) but I didn’t see that. I thought our guys were in there. I felt Washington was more aggressive and probably a little bigger and stronger in the paint.
“I’m concerned about that every game, no matter who we play. They got aggressive, they were allowed to get aggressive, and it paid off for them.”
But the math is pretty simple, as Bone pointed out. The Huskies warmed to hit 7 of 13 threes in the second half against the Cougars’ 2 of 11.
“That’s 15 points (difference),” he said.
The loss dropped WSU to 9-8 and 1-4 in the Pac-12, which makes a home weekend against Stanford and Cal somewhere beyond urgent. The Cougars’ two conference home games were in Spokane, and, Bone noted, “It’ll be nice to get home. We haven’t had a home game for a month.”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org