Huskies fall short against North Carolina
Washington's season ended Sunday in Charlotte, N.C., where the Huskies fell to North Carolina, 86-83.
By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It came down to the end.
The Huskies had plenty of chances to upset No. 2 seed North Carolina after Scott Suggs drained a three-pointer to cut their deficit to a point with 15.2 seconds left.
But that's when everything fell apart and the Tar Heels escaped with an 86-83 victory in the third round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The Huskies left Time Warner Cable Arena staring at the clock and begging for a goaltending call that never came from the officials.
But that's not why they lost. In fact, the final shot, by Isaiah Thomas, was a two-pointer, anyway.
Washington will lament a turnover in the waning seconds.
Trailing 84-83, Justin Holiday had his inbounds pass partially deflected by 6-foot-10 North Carolina forward John Henson with 7.4 seconds left.
The ball landed in Leslie Strickland's hands and he drained two free throws to put the Tar Heels ahead by three.
Washington still had a chance.
Only 5.4 seconds remained on the clock when Venoy Overton raced up the sideline and hurried a shot just inside the midcourt line that sailed out of bounds.
But the ball was touched by a North Carolina player and the Huskies retained possession, with just 0.5 seconds remaining.
Thomas got up a shot from the corner, but he had stepped inside the three-point line. The ball never made it to the rim because Henson swatted it away.
Washington, the Pac-10 tournament champion, ends its season with a 24-11 record.
Terrence Ross led the Huskies with 19 points, Thomas had 12 and C.J. Wilcox 11.
The game turned late in the second half.
The Huskies led 76-73 when they went cold from the field.
Holiday and Thomas lost the ball on consecutive possessions before Matthew Bryan-Amaning missed a short jumper. Darnell Gant collected the rebound, but Henson spiked his putback.
On the ensuing possession, Thomas short-armed a midrange jumper.
Meanwhile, North Carolina surged ahead.
Junior forward Tyler Zeller gave the Tar Heels an 80-76 lead with a pair of free throws at 3:25.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar inserted 7-foot sophomore center Aziz N'Diaye and 6-6 junior guard Scott Suggs into the starting lineup — the 11th time this season he's switched starters — to combat North Carolina's big front line.
The change produced early positive results.
N'Diaye was one of the stars early for Washington. He collected eight rebounds in the first half and played solid defense.
The Huskies also received a tremendous lift from the bench when Ross scored 12 points in the first half.
Washington led 45-44 at the break.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org