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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Venoy Overton’s late-game decisions costly for Washington

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

For all the attention the CBS studio crew gave the timing error on the final play of North Carolina's 86-83 victory over Washington, that wasn't the biggest reason why the Huskies missed their chance to reach a second straight Sweet 16.

Even more costly were a pair of poor decisions by senior guard Venoy Overton in the game's final 15 seconds.

When North Carolina's Kendall Marshall missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 15 seconds left to preserve a one-point Washington deficit, Overton took the rebound coast-to-coast and drove into the teeth of Tar Heels' transition defense. Not surprisingly, he threw up a wild off-the-mark layup, an especially peculiar decision considering Overton is known primarily for his defense rather than his finishing around the rim.

Oddly enough, Overton got a second chance to make an impact play on Washington's next possession, this time with the Huskies trailing by three and needing to go the length of the floor in 5.4 seconds. Apparently worried North Carolina would foul to prevent him from attempting a game-tying 3-pointer, Overton hoisted up a wild half-court shot with three seconds still left on the clock, all but squelching Washington's hopes of forcing overtime.

Asked what he instructed his team to do prior to that play, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar told reporters after the game that he wanted to "bring the ball up the floor and try to put our guys in position to get a 3."

"I think what Venoy did, he kind of prematurely anticipated them fouling him," Romar said. "He tried to get three shots if they were going to foul him early. I think that's what happened. But they didn't foul him." {YSP:MORE}

Maybe the more curious aspect of the play was that the ball was in the hands of Overton and not speedy point guard Isaiah Thomas, a player who would seem well-suited to making a Tyus Edney-like season-saving play. Overton averages just six points per game and scored five on 1-for-3 shooting on Sunday.

The loss ends a tumultuous season for Washington, which rebounded from exasperating losses and off-the-court distractions to win the Pac-10 tournament and earn a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Huskies were the team we thought they'd be by March. They just created too difficult a path for themselves having to travel to Charlotte to face second-seeded North Carolina.

"When we sat there Selection Sunday and saw the bracket, we would be fooling ourselves if we would not have admitted that it was a tough, tough road to come this far, 2,800 miles away and play who we had to play," Romar said. "We understood that. But I think immediately our guys embraced this opportunity as something that could be really special and we came into this game expecting to win."

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