Huskies send seniors out with a victory over Arizona
Terrence Ross scores game-high 25 points in 79-70 victory over the Wildcats in Washington's last home game of the season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Race for the Pac-12 titleThe Huskies remain in first place in the Pac-12 Conference and have three games remaining in the regular season. A look at the top four teams (RPI estimates from CBSsports.com):
Estimated RPI: 60th
Estimated RPI: 31st
Estimated RPI: 73rd
Estimated RPI: 61st
The Washington men's basketball team gave its three seniors a memorable send-off as the spectators at sold-out Edmundson Pavilion had to wonder if it was the last home game for underclassmen Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr.
Watching the Huskies' thrilling 79-70 victory over Arizona, the crowd chanted "one more year" while Ross stood at the free-throw line and when he walked off the court.
"I wasn't shaking my head to be like, 'No, I'm not coming back.' I was shaking my head because I can't believe they're chanting this right now," the sophomore guard said. "I was flattered, but I don't know what I'm going to do.
"I might come back, but at this point it's whatever happens in these last games and in the NCAA tournament. Just got see how the future plays out, but at the moment I'm just focused on our team."
If this was the last home game for Ross and Wroten, then they put on a show that won't soon be forgotten.
Ross looked every bit like a first-round draft choice while displaying a midrange game that would make some NBA players jealous.
Everything was on display. Pull-up jumpers. Turnaround bank shots and dribble-drive layups.
Ross connected on 10 of 11 shots inside the arc for most of his game-high 25 points. His only shortcoming was a 1-for-8 performance on three-pointers.
Otherwise, Ross was amazing while collecting five rebounds and five steals.
"We need that from him," senior co-captain Darnell Gant said. "He's a scoring specialist, and people can't guard him. For him to get started like that, I expect him to do that every game. We need that from him because he provides that spark.
"Everybody has something different that they bring to the game, and we need scoring from him."
In boxing parlance, Ross is a stinging jab while Wroten is a punishing uppercut.
The freshman guard repeatedly bullied his way to the basket and pounded Arizona's defense for 22 points on 8-for-22 shooting. He also had nine rebounds, five on the offensive glass.
"He is so different because he gets his own miss about as well as any player I've seen," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "It almost sounds funny to say that, but if you watch him, he can get to the basket, miss his shot and get a second shot. He puts a lot of pressure on your defense."
Ross wasn't too shabby in the putback department either.
Midway through the second half, he sailed over an Arizona defender and redirected Gant's missed three-pointer for an acrobatic layup that gave Washington a 58-52 lead.
Minutes later, Wroten gathered a rebound and raced the length of the court before flushing a dunk over Arizona freshman forward Angelo Chol that put the Huskies up 62-54 and sent a jolt of electricity through the building.
"The combination of Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten is really a one-two punch that you have to be ready to deal with because tonight they were terrific," Miller said. "Tonight, they almost had 50 points between two players."
C.J. Wilcox added 11 points, Aziz N'Diaye finished with 12 rebounds and eight points while Abdul Gaddy had nine points, six assists and didn't commit a turnover.
Arizona (19-9, 10-5 Pac-12) countered with a balanced attack that included a team-high 20 points from Nick Johnson.
"We put together 40 minutes today," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I thought our guys did a good job today of playing Husky basketball."
Washington (19-8, 12-3) remains in first place in the conference.
Statistically, the Huskies dominated in every way.
They had more rebounds (43-39), field-gaol attempts (67-56), blocks (7-4), steals (8-0) and fewer turnovers (6-12).
Gant said it was the "perfect" way to go out at home.
Romar continued a UW tradition of starting seniors in their home finale and inserted Gant, a reserve forward, and walk-on forward Brendan Sherrer, in the starting lineup.
Sherrer, a former member of the Dawg Pack student section, received a big ovation. However, the early positive vibes faded quickly as Washington fell behind 7-2.
Ross made sure the Huskies didn't stay down for long.
Normally a slow starter, he scored 15 points in the first half, including a three-pointer that gave UW its first lead at 15-14 and started a 9-0 run.
The spurt closed when N'Diaye blocked Johnson's shot and grabbed the loose ball before dribbling over and around Johnson.
The 7-foot center tiptoed along the sideline and finished the sequence with an emphatic dunk over Solomon Hill.
The crowd roared while Miller drew a technical foul. Wilcox made the ensuing free throws to give Washington a 21-14 lead with 12:34 left.
At that point the Huskies took control, but they couldn't breathe easy until the final minutes.
They led 39-37 at half and Arizona kept it close until the final five minutes. Wroten completed a traditional three-point play that put Washington up by 12 points at 76-64 with 1:06 left.
Soon after that, Sherrer subbed for Gant, who kneeled and kissed the purple "W" at midcourt before stepping into a Romar bear hug on the sideline.
When Sherrer left the court for the last time, he also smooched the floor.
"It looked like a good idea," he said smiling.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @percyallen
Attendance: 10,000. Officials: Tony Padilla, Deron White, Glen Mayberry.