Washington rallies past Washington State
Lorenzo Romar's rant ignited a Washington comeback that overwhelmed the Cougars and carried the Huskies to a 75-65 victory.
Seattle Times staff reporter
By the numbers26-6 run
Washington run with 12:16 left erased
a 47-37 deficit against the Cougars.
26 of 30
Terrence Ross scored 26 of his career-high 30 points in the second half.
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Lorenzo Romar stomped and stormed in front of the Washington bench in a clenched-fist tirade not seen this season.
Terrence Ross responded with a second-half scoring outburst equally rare: 26 points.
The two were the focal points of Washington's 75-65 victory over rival Washington Stateat Edmundson Pavilion that will be long remembered as a game in which the Huskies overcame a 10-point, second-half deficit with a stirring closing finish.
"We've had some big wins here in this building and some big games, but that's going to be a win that I won't forget because the way we went about our business," Romar said. "It was a great, great victory for our team."
Playing without sophomore guard C.J. Wilcox, their second-leading scorer who sat out with a stress fracture in his left hip and is expected to miss this week's games as well, the Huskies needed someone to pick up the slack. Ross, the nonchalant sophomore guard, stepped up and finished with a 30 points and 14 rebounds — both career highs.
Darnell Gant and Tony Wroten Jr. added 13 points for the Huskies, who improved to 4-1 in Pac-12 play.
"In the first half, things weren't really going my way, but I couldn't let that get me down," Ross said. "I just had to keep pushing and eventually it happened for me."
On a snowy, wintry day that felt more like Pullman than Seattle, the Cougars made themselves at home again at Hec Ed, where they had won four of the previous six games. As the temperatures outside dipped to freezing, the frigid-shooting Huskies converted just 9 of 31 field goals in the first half against Washington State's 2-3 zone and trailed 31-25 at halftime.
"We were just playing like we were in a fog offensively," Romar said. "We had some breakdowns defensively."
The way things were going in the first 28 minutes, the Huskies appeared headed to an embarrassing defeat.
With 12:16 remaining and the Huskies trailing 35-27, Ross darted in the lane for a short jumper and was whistled for an offensive foul. Who knew the game would turn on such a simple play?
"That one play made me angry," Ross said. "Right after that they called a technical (on Romar), and I think that kind of added fuel to the fire. I really knew that I was going to have to help the team if it was on offense, defense or rebounding, loose balls or hustle plays. I just knew I had to contribute in some type of way to turn the game around."
Romar went irate over the Ross foul and nearly tore out of his black, gold-striped suit jacket before earning the technical. Washington fell behind 47-37 when WSU reserve guard Faisal Aden made the ensuing free throws, but the play galvanized the Huskies and energized the crowd.
Wroten sank a layup to start a 15-2 run. Minutes later, he stole a pass from WSU senior guard Marcus Capers and raced to the other end before dropping a pass to Gant, who flushed a two-hand dunk that capped the comeback and gave UW a 50-49 lead.
On the Huskies' next possession, Abdul Gaddy connected with Gant for another two-handed flush that put Washington ahead 52-49 with 7:56 left.
Once Washington (11-6 overall) had the lead, Ross took over.
He overcame a miserable 1-for-9 shooting display in the first half and scored 26 points in a span of 17:54 in the second.
"I try to keep my composure no matter what, but I know that sometimes when I get angry I can really start balling," Ross said. "If I hit 2-3 shots, OK, I'm getting hot. But if I miss, I'm trying not too hard to think about that (because) any little moment I can just explode."
Ross drained three NBA-range three-pointers down the stretch and flushed an alley-oop dunk over Capers that put Washington up 69-58 with 3:09 to go.
WSU coach Ken Bone used all of his timeouts attempting to stem UW's momentum, and late in the game, he fell while racing on the court to signal a timeout.
"It was quite a spill," he said. "I hit the deck hard, but now I'm fine. I bounced back, just like I hope we do."
The Cougars (9-8, 1-4) never put up much of a fight the remainder of the game. After WSU converted the technical-foul shots, Washington finished the game on a 38-18 run.
"I've never played in an atmosphere like that," Wroten said. "Especially when we started back in and getting the lead, it was loud and you couldn't hear yourself.
"(You) couldn't talk to your teammates. It was a crazy atmosphere and it just shows what our crowd is capable of when we do great things."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @percyallen
Attendance: 10,000. Officials: Chris Rastatter, Michael Reed, Michael Irving.