BY SPNW Staff 03:15PM 03/08/2012

FT fail: Beavers shock Huskies out of P-12 tourney

Washington missed 14 of 26 free throws, including four by Wroten in the final 18 seconds, to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 9 in league tourney history.

Washington and coach Lorenzo Romar were warned Enes Kanter would have eligibility problems. / Drew Sellers, Sports Press Northwest

Coach Lorenzo Romar's Huskies weren't prepared for the Pac-12 tourney opener. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

A strong run in the second half of the regular season seemed to signal that Washington worked through its problems of youth and inexperience.

Nope.

The young Huskies crashed Thursday, early and late, falling to Oregon State 86-84 in a quarterfinal defeat that ran them out of the Pac-12 Conference tourney and perhaps the NCAA tourney.

Flat in the first half and weak in the final two minutes, the regular-season champion became the tourney’s first No. 1 seed to be ousted so early. The Beavers, little steadier, nevertheless had enough wit to prevail. But the wildly uneven mess cast even more doubt upon the Pac-12′s ability to get an at-large team to accompany the tourney champion to the big, 68-team dance that begins next week.

While mistakes abounded from coaches to players, what most will remember is that Tony Wroten, despite a career-high 29 points, blew four free throws in a row in the final 18 seconds. The killer was that Wroten, a 57 percenter during the season, made 9 of his first 11 from the line.

“I’m not sure the moment wasn’t too big for him,” Washington assistant coach Jim Shaw told KJR radio. Working through the double negative, Shaw meant Wroten, the Pac-12 freshman of the year, choked. It will be neither the first nor last time it happens to him or any player in a clutch situation. It’s plain human nature, but Wroten has always taken pride in his play during big moments.

“It looked as if (the Beavers) wanted to foul him,” Shaw said,  “to put him at the line and take it from there.”

Wroten didn’t answer questions in the locker room afterward, but deeds spoke louder — from every corner. Wroten hit 9 of 15 free throws, but reliables such as Terrence Ross (16 points) and C.J. Wilcox (15 points) also missed key freebies. Washington missed 14 of 26 from the line. OSU was little better, 17 of 32, but it was enough in a game in which each team made 32 field goals in 64 attempts.

OSU’s 50 percent shooting was the bigger part of the story. Washington’s defense was so poor in the first half that the Beavers piled up a 46-33 lead from getting open perimeter shots and pass-throughs into the paint that piled up fouls on Aziz N’Diaye, who sat out most of the second half with four fouls.

“Defensively, we just walked around and had no urgency,” said Wilcox. “I can’t really tell you why.”

That was the puzzler, how a team that knew it could clinch at least an at-large NCAA bid with a win, could come out on its heels after five days rest.

They flew home Thursday to await the NCAA selection committee’s decision Sunday on whether the 21-10 Huskies, who lost their last two games (including UCLA Saturday) after having won 10 of the previous 12 in a mediocre league, are NCAA-worthy. If they do get in, it could be as one of four teams in Dayton, OH., in a play-in first round.

“It comes but down to a certain level of toughness mentally and physically,” said Shaw. “I thought physically we were tough, but the free throws . . . mentally, we weren’t very strong.”

The Huskies seemed in control with a 77-71 lead, but Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham (18 points, 10 rebvounds, eight assists), scored nine of OSU’s final 15 points, including two from the line with 6.2 seconds to play, to advance to the semifinals Friday. The Beavers beat Washington State Thursday.

Before the typically sparse crowd at Staples Center, the Huskies had no energy for the noon start, making 10 turnovers and falling behind 48-33 early in the second half, then digging in on defense to spark a 31-10 run that seemed to rescue the game. But the Beavers outscored Washington 13-5 over the final 2:30.

In the final 32 seconds, the teams combined to miss 10 free throws, five each. It’s the kind of play that even the National Invitation Tournament might be compelled to ignore.

PAC-12 TOURNAMENT

The Pac-12 tournament determines the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Results so far, plus the remaining schedule:

Wednesday

Game # Time Seeds / Opponents
01 12 p.m. No. Oregon State 69, No. 8 Washington State 64
02 2:30 p.m. No. 5 UCLA 55, No. 12 Southern California 40
03 6 p.m. No. 7 Stanford 85, No. 10 Arizona State 65
04 8:30 p.m. No. 6 Colorado (19-11, 11-7) 53, No. 11 Utah 41

Thursday

Game # Time Seeds / Opponents
05 12 p.m. No. 9 Oregon State 86,  No. 1 Washington 84.
06 2:30 p.m. No. 4 Arizona 66, No. 5 UCLA 58
07 6 p.m. No. 7 Stanford (20-10, 9-8) vs. No. 2 California (23-8, 13-5)
08 8:30 p.m. No. 6 Colorado (20-11, 11-7) vs. No. 3 Oregon (22-8, 13-5)

Friday

Game # Time Opponents
09 6 p.m. No. 9 Oregon State (19-13, 7-9) vs. No. 4 Arizona (22-10, 12-6)
10 8:30 p.m. Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner

Saturday

Game # Time Opponents
11 3 p.m. Pac-12 Championship

YourThoughts

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Shope/100001349330938 Jeff Shope

    not very impressive pressure play

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Shope/100001349330938 Jeff Shope

    not very impressive pressure play

  • 1coolguy

    Wow – how does a team NOT get up for a tournament game?
    Looks like Romar needs to read up on a “getting a team ready to play” self-help book.

    Unbelievable.

    Also, I don’t know how a coach does it, but somehow he may just need to pass on the “one-and-done” stars – let them go somewhere else so he can develop players who actually want to play for a few years. The list gets longer every year and IMO it’s time to stop this bad joke of players saying “thanks but no thanks” at the UW’s expense.

  • 1coolguy

    Wow – how does a team NOT get up for a tournament game?
    Looks like Romar needs to read up on a “getting a team ready to play” self-help book.

    Unbelievable.

    Also, I don’t know how a coach does it, but somehow he may just need to pass on the “one-and-done” stars – let them go somewhere else so he can develop players who actually want to play for a few years. The list gets longer every year and IMO it’s time to stop this bad joke of players saying “thanks but no thanks” at the UW’s expense.

  • Loyal Husky

    Loyal Husky

    What a shame.  This team was not ready to play.  It began play with lazy defense, careless turnovers, and bad shot selection (by the wrong shooters).  Then, late in the game, OSU was ready to be closed out.  As the article says, the Huskies plain choked.  Back to the early pattern of poor shot selection, matador defense, and missed free throws.

    Much has been made all season about the NBA first-round talents of Ross and Wroten.
    They have talent, alright, but often play carelessly.  Ross did not even know, apparently, that his
    intentionally missed free throw had to hit the rim to remain in play.  Did Romar tell him beforehand?
    Did neither Romor nor Ross know the rules?  Why did Romar not call a timeout to steady Wroten down before he shot his four consecutive clunker free throws?  He’s done that in the past..

    Romar keeps talking about positive reinforcement of his players.  That is good.  But where is the accountability (by coaches as well as players)?  It is hard to imagine a Coach K, Williams,
    or other top-flighter tolerating the same mistakes being made time after time by the same players—without sitting them for a stretch to consider their play and watch others.  This team, in March, is still making November mistakes.  Maybe we’d be better off working from the Gonzaga model, where less publicized and physically talented kids play hard and with discipline and have a genuine will to improve and win.

    NCAAs?   It hardly matters.  It is hard to imagine this team playing even one more game in its present complacent state.

  • Loyal Husky

    Loyal Husky

    What a shame.  This team was not ready to play.  It began play with lazy defense, careless turnovers, and bad shot selection (by the wrong shooters).  Then, late in the game, OSU was ready to be closed out.  As the article says, the Huskies plain choked.  Back to the early pattern of poor shot selection, matador defense, and missed free throws.

    Much has been made all season about the NBA first-round talents of Ross and Wroten.
    They have talent, alright, but often play carelessly.  Ross did not even know, apparently, that his
    intentionally missed free throw had to hit the rim to remain in play.  Did Romar tell him beforehand?
    Did neither Romor nor Ross know the rules?  Why did Romar not call a timeout to steady Wroten down before he shot his four consecutive clunker free throws?  He’s done that in the past..

    Romar keeps talking about positive reinforcement of his players.  That is good.  But where is the accountability (by coaches as well as players)?  It is hard to imagine a Coach K, Williams,
    or other top-flighter tolerating the same mistakes being made time after time by the same players—without sitting them for a stretch to consider their play and watch others.  This team, in March, is still making November mistakes.  Maybe we’d be better off working from the Gonzaga model, where less publicized and physically talented kids play hard and with discipline and have a genuine will to improve and win.

    NCAAs?   It hardly matters.  It is hard to imagine this team playing even one more game in its present complacent state.

  • zigzags

    Well this should end the debate about who’s the best team Washington. I’ll enjoy watching the Zags in the NCAA tourney and hey, at least UW probably gets an extra home game in the NIT…

  • zigzags

    Well this should end the debate about who’s the best team Washington. I’ll enjoy watching the Zags in the NCAA tourney and hey, at least UW probably gets an extra home game in the NIT…

  • RadioGuy

    Hard to win close games when you’re only 12-of-26 from the line.  Dunks in transition are fun to watch, but when you shoot under 50% from 15 feet away with nobody in front of you, you’ve got a problem.  Unlike the 3-point line, they haven’t moved the foul line in decades at any level so it’s not as though these guys have had to make a transition from high school.

    NIT?  The Huskies looked like a bubble CBI team last night.  They’re better than what they showed, but this game says a lot about their collective mental toughness.  Basketball is more than just showing up and being more physically gifted than the other team.  You may be able to do that when you’re playing Inglemoor or Newport, but it’s not like that in college ball (even if you’re playing the #9 seed in a down PAC 12 season).

  • RadioGuy

    Hard to win close games when you’re only 12-of-26 from the line.  Dunks in transition are fun to watch, but when you shoot under 50% from 15 feet away with nobody in front of you, you’ve got a problem.  Unlike the 3-point line, they haven’t moved the foul line in decades at any level so it’s not as though these guys have had to make a transition from high school.

    NIT?  The Huskies looked like a bubble CBI team last night.  They’re better than what they showed, but this game says a lot about their collective mental toughness.  Basketball is more than just showing up and being more physically gifted than the other team.  You may be able to do that when you’re playing Inglemoor or Newport, but it’s not like that in college ball (even if you’re playing the #9 seed in a down PAC 12 season).

  • cruddy

    This is the kind of team that will always break your heart.  They have all the talent but none of the grit.  They are soft because they don’t like to play team defense.  Age has a lot to do with it.  O is cool and D is old school.  Watching the glove cheering on his Beavers reminded me of the good old days when he took so much pride in his defensive tenacity.  None of the puppies on the current Husky squad have that kind of game.  

  • cruddy

    This is the kind of team that will always break your heart.  They have all the talent but none of the grit.  They are soft because they don’t like to play team defense.  Age has a lot to do with it.  O is cool and D is old school.  Watching the glove cheering on his Beavers reminded me of the good old days when he took so much pride in his defensive tenacity.  None of the puppies on the current Husky squad have that kind of game.  

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