Isaiah Thomas helps Washington avenge a loss to Stanford
Years from now, Washington's 87-76 win over Stanford may be remembered as the game when Isaiah Thomas shot the lights out at Edmundson Pavilion...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Years from now, Washington's 87-76 win over Stanford may be remembered as the game when Isaiah Thomas shot the lights out at Edmundson Pavilion.
It's not entirely accurate, of course, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story?
Both events occurred Saturday night, but they were mutually exclusive.
An electrical surge knocked out power on the University of Washington campus and took out some of the lights inside Edmundson Pavilion just minutes before the UW guard put on a dazzling two-minute shooting display on his way to 22 points.
"He's one of those guys that you can see how he scored 50 points on many occasions (in high school)," said coach Lorenzo Romar. "When he gets in a zone, he is just tough to deal with."
Said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins: "You're not really going to stop Isaiah. You have to try to contain him as best you can."
Thanks in part to an errant elbow from Washington junior Darnell Gant that caught Thomas in the left eye and forced him to leave the game midway in the first half, Stanford kept the UW junior guard scoreless for most of the first half.
That was before Thomas and Stanford junior star Jeremy Green engaged in some playful verbal sparring.
Washington led 31-25 with 2:57 remaining in the first half when Thomas took over.
"They made me mad," Thomas said. "They were just talking a little bit and I just felt like I had to turn it up to end the half."
Thomas scored his first basket — a three-pointer — with 2:38 left and he drained another on UW's next trip.
On the ensuing possession, he ripped a rebound away from Green and stared down the Cardinal junior star before connecting with Venoy Overton to start a fast break. Overton finished the play with a layup despite being fouled.
The play made Dawkins irate, and he drew a technical foul for yelling at the refs. Thomas hit both free throws.
A minute later, Thomas drained another three, and with the clock winding down before halftime he had the ball in his hands again.
"He had just hit (a three) and you could just tell he was feeling it," Romar said. "I kind of took the position of let's see what he has up his sleeve here. He's going pretty good here. Let him do this."
With Green blocking his path the basket, Thomas drilled a three-pointer while standing on the purple "W" near midcourt.
As the Huskies swarmed their junior co-captain, he pointed emphatically to the court and repeatedly yelled: "This is our house!"
The long jumper finished a 17-6 run that gave the Huskies a 48-31 lead at half. Despite a sloppy second half, they cruised to their second straight win.
"Nobody is coming in here and getting easy wins or thinking they can come in here and win easily," said Thomas, who finished with a 6-for-12 shooting effort. "We just have got to defend home court."
The Huskies are 13-0 at home. They also improved to 16-7 and remain third in the Pac-10 at 9-4.
The win avenged a 58-56 defeat last month at Stanford. Unlike that game when UW squandered an 11-point, second-half lead, there was no drama and no surprise Saturday.
Thomas made sure of that, but he wasn't Washington's only star.
The Huskies dominated Stanford in the middle with Matthew Bryan-Amaning (15 points and six rebounds) and Aziz N'Diaye, whose nine points included a thunderous dunk that drew a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
Overton scored a season-high 12 points and handed out four assists.
When Stanford narrowed the Huskies' lead to 61-49, C.J. Wilcox drained a pair of three-pointers that allowed the sellout crowd to breathe easy.
"Our bench was maybe the MVP of this game," Romar said. "Guys came off the bench and held the fort down for our team."
Stanford (13-11, 6-7) received a game-high 24 points from Green. Former Vashon High standout John Gage added nine, and former Bellevue High standout Aaron Bright chipped in six.
Washington scored more points against Stanford, which was allowing a Pac-10 low 63.7 points per game to opponents, than any team this season.
The convincing win also sends the Huskies into next weekend's games at Arizona State and No. 15 Arizona with renewed confidence.
"This will probably be the hardest road trip," Thomas said. "There are two good teams down there, and they'll be ready for us and we'll be ready for them."
Attendance: 10,000. Officials: Bobby McRoy, Bill Kennedy, Don McAllister.
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