No. 14 Washington 95, Arizona St. 90, OT
LOS ANGELES (AP)—What appeared to be a Washington rout early on turned into a struggle for the Huskies. Little Nate Robinson made sure they came out on top.
Robinson, a 5-foot-9 junior, scored six of his 29 points in overtime, and No. 14 Washington survived Arizona State’s comeback to beat the Sun Devils 95-90 Thursday night in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament.
“That is one of the best No. 7 seeds, I guarantee you, of any conference tournament,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We did not lose our composure. We stayed together.”
The second-seeded Huskies (25-5) will play third-seeded Stanford (18-11), a 60-58 winner over Washington State, in the second semifinal Friday night. No. 8 Arizona (26-5), the tournament’s top seed, faces fifth-seeded Oregon State (17-13) in the opener.
Washington made 14 of its first 17 shots including 6-of-6 from 3-point range, in taking an 18-point first-half lead. As it turned out, the Huskies didn’t clinch the victory until Tre Simmons made two free throws with 13.5 seconds remaining in overtime.
Kevin Kruger’s 3-pointer with 4:14 remaining gave ASU an 86-85 lead—its second of the game. But Brandon Roy made two free throws and Robinson added four straight points to put the Huskies on top 91-86 with 2:09 left.
Pac-10 player of the year Ike Diogu hit two free throws before Robinson made a bank shot with 1:22 to play, putting Washington ahead 93-88. Diogu made two more foul shots with 15.9 seconds left for ASU’s last points.
Simmons added 17 points, Roy scored 12 and freshman Joel Smith added 11 for the Huskies.
“It lasted longer than we might have liked, but you always learn from these situations,” Romar said. “That team, when they get going from the outside, they’re dangerous offensively. Some people think it’s just the Ike Diogu show.”
Kruger equaled his career high with 22 points and Steve Moore also scored 22 for ASU (18-13), which lost its fourth straight game. Diogu, playing the entire 45 minutes, had 21 points, 13 rebounds and a Pac-10 tournament-record five blocked shots. Bryson Krueger added 15 points for the Sun Devils.
Moore made a layup with less than a second left in regulation to tie it at 83 and force overtime. Moore scored with 14.8 seconds to play to make it 81-all before Hakeem Rollins dunked with 7.1 seconds remaining, giving the Huskies a two-point lead.
Moore scored all but two of his points in the second half.
“I didn’t want to lose,” he said when asked why he played so well after halftime. “I’m a senior. Outside of the NIT, there’s no more basketball for me.”
Regarding his game-tying shot that forced overtime, Moore said: “I really didn’t know the clock. I was just trying to get to the basket as fast as I could.”
Said Robinson: “We were in a scramble situation. Somehow, he just got a wide-open layup.”
Washington shot 30-of-67 including 6-of-12 from 3-point range while ASU was 28-of-64 and 10-of-24 from outside the arc. The Huskies outrebounded the Sun Devils 46-32.
Robinson, who equaled his season high and came up two points shy of his career high, shot 9-of-16 from the floor including 3-of-5 from 3-point range and 8-of-9 from the foul line. He also had seven rebounds and two steals.
ASU coach Rob Evans said his team played well enough to win.
“We’ve played well all year long,” he said. “Out of 31 games, I would say 27 of them we played extremely well.”
Washington had what appeared to be a comfortable 14-point lead when Moore scored 12 points during a 23-9 run that tied the game with 5:35 remaining.
Bobby Jones made a free throw, and Roy added two baskets to give the Huskies a five-point lead. ASU drew within two points before Roy scored four more points to put Washington on top 81-75 with 2:18 remaining.
Two free throws by Diogu and another pair by Krueger made it 81-79 with 50.4 seconds left. Then came the wild finish to regulation.
Washington made its first 17 free throws before Robinson missed with 12:47 remaining. The Huskies finished 27-of-32 from the foul line while ASU was 20-of-28.
It was 52-37 at halftime. Washington’s 52 points were the most scored against ASU in a first half this season—six more than the previous high.