Washington men beat Arizona State in overtime thriller
Jon Brockman, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, scored the first four points of overtime to give UW the lead for good in a 73-70 victory Thursday at Edmundson Pavilion.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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On a night when the Washington Huskies might have cemented their destiny, they might also have officially forged their identity.
In the latest biggest win of the season for the Huskies men's basketball team — a 73-70 overtime win over Arizona State in a showdown for the Pac-10 lead — the shots didn't all drop as hoped, the plays didn't all develop as planned.
"We couldn't get the ball to go down from the outside," lamented coach Lorenzo Romar of a game in which Washington shot 23 for 60 (38.3 percent).
But as has become their custom on such nights of struggle, the Huskies masked their warts with simple hard work — making it somewhat fitting that when the bell rang for overtime, it was UW that best answered the call.
"We had a lot of ups and downs, but we were able to stay in it mentally," said forward Jon Brockman, who led the Huskies with 21 points and 11 rebounds. "That was a very mature win, you could say. A very gutsy performance. The last two years, there was no possible way we would have been able to pull ourselves out of that."
But because UW was able to rally from a five-point deficit with 3:17 left, and a potentially haunting lost turnover that forced overtime, the Huskies have now pulled into decisive control of the conference.
Washington is 12-4 in the Pac-10, 1 ½ games ahead of Arizona State, UCLA and California, all 10-5.
One win in either of the last two games at home — Saturday against Arizona and March 7 against Washington State — and Washington captures at least a share of its first conference title since 1985. Wins in both (among other scenarios), and UW earns an outright title for the first time since 1953.
"It's so close we can taste it," said forward Quincy Pondexter. "But you know that the next two games are not going to be easy at all."
Washington's getting used to that, however.
While an especially fevered sellout crowd came waiting to party, Arizona State and Washington responded with 45 grinding minutes of play.
Neither team ever really found a rhythm offensively — UW was 2 for 17 from the three-point line; ASU was 28 for 67 overall (41.4) and 5 for 23 from three.
"It was a very tough game," Pondexter said.
Washington briefly appeared ready to blow it open, using frenetic defense to take a 21-8 lead with 12:09 left in the first half. But Arizona State, behind 15 points from sophomore guard James Harden, rallied to within one at halftime. Then, after UW again built an eight-point lead early in the second half, the Sun Devils again rallied, using a 17-4 run to go ahead 59-54 with 3:17 left in regulation.
Justin Dentmon — who didn't have a point in the first half but finished with 16 — then came alive, hitting a three-pointer and a driving one-hander to put UW ahead 61-59 with 46 seconds left. Harden missed on the other end, and the party seemed ready to start. But Harden delayed the celebration when he stripped the ball from Dentmon and dunked it with 12 seconds left to force overtime.
Brockman said the team sulked "maybe for a little bit. But then it was just, we are going to win this game."
He scored on UW's first two possessions of overtime to put the Huskies ahead for good. Then Harden, who finished with 19 points, and teammate Jeff Pendergraph (24 points, 13 rebounds) fouled out.
Arizona State's last real chance was extinguished in fitting fashion when Isaiah Thomas ran down a loose ball on an offensive rebound with just over a minute left, forcing the Sun Devils to begin fouling.
"We've had some teams that had a lot of heart," said Romar. "But I think our hearts have gotten bigger and bigger as the year has progressed. What our guys did tonight on a poor shooting night was very, very special."
Possibly worthy of a banner.
|ARIZONA STATE (21-6, 10-5)|
|WASHINGTON (21-7, 12-4)|
Attendance: 10,000. Officials: Dave Libbey, Tony Padilla, Michael Greenstein. Technical fouls: Arizona State-None. Washington-None.
|Leaders of Pac|
UW (2): vs. Arizona,
vs. Washington State
ASU (3): at Wash. St.,
Cal (3): vs. UCLA,
at Arizona State
UCLA (3): at Cal,
vs. Oregon State,
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
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Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.
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