SEATTLE (AP)—Last spring, Brandon Roy decided to delay potential NBA millions and return to Washington for his senior season.
Roy made another strong case for Pac-10 player of the year honors by scoring 19 of his 27 points in the second half Sunday night to lead No. 17 Washington into a second-place tie in the conference with a 73-62 win over California.
“When I was dreaming, this is exactly what I dreamed about—but it’s tough to accomplish these things,” Roy said after his ninth consecutive game with at least 20 points led the Huskies to their sixth straight win.
Playing in his final home game, Roy was 9-for-13 from the floor, 7-for-9 in the second half, as Washington (22-5, 11-5) avenged a January loss to the Bears by breaking open a rugged game midway through the second half. He also held California’s Ayinde Ubaka to six points, the first time in 15 games the Bears’ guard had not reached double figures.
At the end, Roy hugged every one of his coaches and teammates at the bench. After the final buzzer, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar invited the senior students out of the stands and onto the floor. Roy was the first of five Huskies seniors to greet them with hugs and high-fives.
The Huskies and Bears (17-8, 11-5) are tied for second, one game behind UCLA, with two regular-season games remaining. California hosts UCLA Thursday, while Washington is at ninth-place Arizona State.
“I dreamed of this moment,” Roy said. “And to be this close to the Pac-10 championship and still get some accolades for me, that’s special.”
Roy took control of a foul-filled wrestling match that featured him and California player of the year contender, Leon Powe. Powe was the conference scoring leader at 20.3 points per game coming in, just ahead of Roy’s 19.7.
“They are both great players,” Romar said. “But I disagree with those who say this was a showdown between Brandon and Leon Powe for player of the year.
“Try to find someone else in a league, anywhere, who is in the top 10 in 10 of 13 categories (as Roy is).”
Powe entered the weekend as one of only two players in Division I averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He scored 14 points and had eight rebounds but sat out the final 5:34 of the opening half with two fouls. He took only seven shots—four below his season average.
Richard Midgley led the Bears with 15 points. California’s slide into its second loss in nine games coincided with Midgley getting his fourth foul with 14:10 left. The Bears scored just one basket over the next 4 1/2 minutes with their point guard sitting out.
California coach Ben Braun refused to permit Powe to speak to the media afterward. Braun seemed dismayed by some offensive fouls called on Powe. One was for driving into Roy, with 11:12 left and the Bears down 45-40. Washington then scored eight of the next 10 points to take control.
Just before that third foul, Powe grabbed the jersey of Washington’s Mike Jensen and pulled him into the baseline in apparent frustration after a missed shot.
When asked if Powe should have had the ball more, Braun said, “He’d have fouled out a long time ago if he got more touches, probably.”
Roy’s touches were mostly golden.
He was fouled on a twisting layup while falling down and converted the three-point play to give Washington a four-point lead 3:03 into the second half.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Bobby Jones and Justin Dentmon gave Washington a 53-42 lead with 9:14 remaining. The Huskies were 10-for-20 from behind the arc overall.
Roy kept that lead comfortable. He looked around and seemed to have no other option but to shoot a 3-pointer. That also swished. Roy coolly shook his head and then exhorted the crowd with both arms to celebrate a 60-50 lead with 5:36 to go.
California closed to within 64-58 on a 3-pointer by Theo Robertson with 2:46 to go. But Roy had an answer for that, too.
He made another 3-point shot and then backpedaled as the sellout crowd roared over Washington’s 67-58 lead with 2:14 left.