BY Steve Rudman 07:37AM 03/16/2011

Nobody Asks But Us: Washington & Buzzer Beaters

Isaiah Thomas joined some exclusive company with his game-winning shot.

Isaiah Thomas became one of five players since 1978 to score the game-winning shot with 0:00 on the clock / Getty Images

Isaiah Thomas drained the game-winning shot with no time on the clock against Arizona last Saturday, giving Washington a 77-75 overtime victory, the Pac-10 tournament title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Before Thomas, who was the last Husky player to score a game-winning basket with 0:00 showing on the clock?

Since the Pacific 10 Conference came into existence in 1978, five Washington players (as far as we can determine) have hit a game winner as time expired, either in regulation play or in overtime. Before Thomas did it against the Wildcats, the last to do it was Mark Sanford on March 10, 1995, in a 74-73 overtime win over California (Sanford slipped through the Bears defense and scored on a layup).

The last Husky to win a game with a shot similar to the one Thomas made  — an 18-foot jumper — was Brad Watson, who beat California on Jan. 29, 1983, with a 19-foot jumper and 0:00 remaining.

And until Thomas made that remarkable shot, the most audacious basket in relatively recent UW basketball history had to be Bob Fronk’s 25-footer that beat UCLA on Feb. 23, 1980, at Pauley Pavilion. Fronk’s bomb gave the Huskies their first win in the 15-year history of the facility.

In the Pac-10 era, Washington has won nearly 90 times in games decided by three or fewer points. Many of those wins came as the result of free throws, which we didn’t count as “buzzer beaters.”

The following chart shows Washington’s “buzzer beaters” inside the final 12 seconds (although 12 seconds isn’t technically a buzzer beater) since the Pac-10 was formed in 1978.

Year Date Player Opponent Shot Time Score
1980 Feb. 23 Bob Fronk at UCLA 25-foot jumper 0.0 UW 72-70
1982 Feb. 13 Steve Burks at Stanford 15-foot jumper 0.0 UW 53-52
1983 Jan. 29 Brad Watson vs. Cal 19-foot jumper 0.0 UW 58-57
1995 March 9 Mark Sanford vs. Cal Layup 0.0 UW 74-73 (OT)
2011 March 12 Isaiah Thomas vs. Arizona 18-foot jumper 0.0 UW 59-57 (OT)
2000 Jan. 29 Senque Carey at Cal 20-foot jumper 1.1 UW 54-52
2001 March 10 Michael Johnson vs. UCLA 3-point-jumper 1.1 UW 96-94
2010 March 18 Quincy Pondexter vs. Marq. Running bank 1.7 UW 80-78
1982 Jan. 2 Alvin Vaughn vs. USC 12-foot jumper 2.0 UW 73-72 (OT)
1986 March 1 Al Moscatel at ASU 25-foot jumper 2.0 UW 64-62
1992 Jan. 16 Rich Manning vs. Arizona 17-foot jumper 2.0 UW 62-60
1997 Dec. 3 Todd MacCulloch vs. Portland Tip-in 2.0 UW 70-68
1979 Feb. 22 Stan Walker vs. UCLA 17-foot jumper 3.0 UW 69-68
2000 Dec. 16 Greg Clark at Fla. Int. 13-foot jumper 3.0 UW 63-61
1997 Jan. 11 Todd MacCulloch vs. Oregon 4-foot jumper 4.0 UW 78-77
2001 Dec. 22 Michael Johnson vs. Clemson 8-foot jumper 4.0 UW 77-76 (OT)
2009 Jan. 8 Jon Brockman vs. Stanford Putback 5.0 UW 84-83
2001 Jan. 18 Curtis Allen at Oregon Layup 6.0 UW 72-71 (OT)
1978 Dec. 18 Steve Matzen vs. Army 10-foot jumper 7.0 UW 68-67
1986 Jan. 4 Al Moscatel at Stanford 20-foot jumper 7.0 UW 70-69
1987 March 1 Chris Welp vs. OSU 10-foot hook 7.0 UW 63-61
1998 March 12 Deon Luten vs. Xavier 17-foot jumper 11.2 UW 69-68


The Rotation’s weekly schedule:

Monday: That Was The Week That Was — A snarky, day-by-day review of the week just ended.
Tuesday: Wayback Machine – Sports historian David Eskenazi’s deep dive into local sports history, replete with photo eye candy.
Wednesday: Nobody Asks But Us – We ask, and answer, fun and quirky questions nobody else is asking.
Thursday: Water Cooler Cool – Art Thiel takes on the weekend for the benefit of the more casual fan.
Friday: Top 5 List – The alpha and omega of Northwest sports, at least as far as we’re concerned.


  • RadioGuy

    I saw Derek Lowe pitch the home opener in Bellingham in 1992 and what impressed me about Lowe was that even though he didn’t seem to throw as hard as you might think a 6’6″ guy would, he was ALWAYS around the plate.

    And, yes, that WAS an “ill-advised” trade.  I can remember where I was, what I was doing and even what time of the morning it was when I first heard it on the radio (decency prevents me from repeating the four-letter word I shouted, but it wasn’t “GOOD!”).  I give Woody Woodward credit for some of the good deals he pulled off, like Darren Bragg for Jamie Moyer and Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner, but this was the worst trade in Mariners history.

  • RadioGuy

    The thing about the Mariners (and they’re not alone among MLB teams) is that they’re not as concerned about baseball fans who want a winning team as they are people simply looking at attending a game at Safeco Field as a night of entertainment, sort of like going to the theater to see this movie or that.  What maybe amplifies that attitude is that the team is run by people who made their fortunes through entertainment in the form of video games…it’s what Nintendo DOES.

    The days of hanging out a signboard reading “Baseball Tonight” and expecting a crowd to show up are long gone.  There’s a lot of competition for the entertainment dollar these days and sports teams have to offer more than the games themselves to draw people in; however, the Mariners are learning that hydro races on the scoreboard, rally fries and some guy dressed up in a moose costume aren’t going to be enough to keep them coming back…last night’s crowd of less than 12,000 is Exhibit A.  It all gets back to the most basic axiom in sports marketing:  Nothing draws a crowd like a winning team.  Even Chuck & Howie have to recognize that.

  • Frankiecappuccino

    How do we not hand the ball to Marshawn 4 times with 1st & Goal for the win?

    • Jamo57

      No time outs (though they gave us one we didn’t have).

    • Artthiel

       Can’t get off that many rushing plays in the time allowed — can’t always count on free timeouts.

  • notaboomer

    if only wilson could have twisted his ankle and let flynn come in for the win. 

    • Artthiel

       As I mentioned above, on this day, Flynn may have gotten the final red zone touchdown. Purely a function of experience. That situation was asking a lot of Wilson.

  • jeff

    Why not give Leon a crack at it? Seemed he had some good moves going today.

    • Artthiel

       Leon is always better in the open field than scrimmage, where’s he’s ordinary.

  • RadioGuy

    Wilson was lucky to get those 18 completions, given the lousy “protection” the O-line gave him.  When you’re constantly surrounded by red jerseys before there’s even a pocket to set up in, you’re in for a looooong afternoon.

    And now Okung may be out with his annual injury.  Terrific.  It’s becoming a Rite of Autumn:  The kids are back in school, the leaves on the trees are changing color and Russell Okung gets injured…it’s like a reminder to set our clocks back to Standard Time.

    • Artthiel

       I’m told it’s a sprained knee, not serious. But losing him for the last drive was a factor. Just another inhibitor for Wilson.

  • Jamo57

    Art, was it my just imagination that the Cardinals receivers were much more open that the Hawks receivers?  Even in the red zones on the respective drives late in the 4th quarter?

    It seems to me that the Hawks receivers were unable to get any separation forcing Wilson to be just about perfect on his throws, which appeared to me to be in spots only the Hawks receivers could get to.  (With the exception of the one underthrown fade route to the right side).   Of course they would have been difficult catches given the small windows and Wilson having to err on the side away from the DB.

    They overall point being, the Hawks receivers didn’t seem to be able to get much separation for most of the day.   And given the O-Line not giving Wilson a ton of time, I think he performed adequately given the shortcomings around him. 

    • Artthiel

       Wilson was regularly on the move in his first real start. He missed a few windows, but showed a lot with late passes to Miller and Martin. The Seahawks went with pressure on Skelton, leaving receivers in man coverage. The Az D is good, and they disguise well. Flynn probably would have had a better day, but Wilson won’t have a worse one.

  • Artthiel

    I said last week that the Seahawks would lose the opener and still make the playoffs. It was too much to ask of Wilson and Sweezy in the first week. Plus Baldwin missed most of the preseason. That’s the risk Carroll takes going so young.

  • Brian Dadant

    If Matt Flynn played we would have won. It is time to end the Pete Carroll era. Every his teams are NOT prepared for the season opener. He chose to play Wilson over Flynn. We committed way to many penalties. This all proves he isn’t the correct man to be our head coach.

  • Old Goat

    How In the world does Flynn make the catch for Edwards?
    What is the long term upside for the two QBs ? Only time and experience will tell. By the way with poor protection Wilson extended plays where Flynn may have been sacked. Thanks for the outlook Art.

  • Tzip

    why did the Hawks cut Deuce Lutui? Seems crazy to start a rookie who has never played as an offensive lineman.

  • Pixeldawg13

    @ Humancockroach (not a very self-complimentary handle, there.)
    As I see it, the reason Tate may get fined isn’t that Lee was ‘defenseless’–Tate was in front of him–but that Tate was leading with his helmet and hit Lee pretty much square in the face.  That does violate a league rule.

    But it was a delightfully wicked block.  

    • skeletony

       Actually he hit him in the chest, not the head/face. Look at the replay more closely. The contact with the crown of Tate’s helmet occurs after Tate lays into Lee with that vicious hit.

    • Artthiel

       Photos at impact show Tate hitting Lee’s chest, and below the helmet.

  • effzee

    I wonder if the defenseless player rule only applies to certain situations, like after a turnover or if the player is in the air or something? Yes, he didn’t see Tate, but he was running full speed after Wilson, going for the tackle, so I see it as a legit block. Tate even said afterwards that he tried to be seen by Lee before making contact but the dude just didn’t look at him.

    • Artthiel

       Wasn’t blind side. It was an angle, but within reasonable view.

  • Humancockroach

    And yet every single dive, block or hit on the inside on running plays have the same contact on nearly every play. A FB makes that block on an off tackle run and there is no question about fines, how defenseless, or how he lead with his head… There is no ref or league that would fine them for making that block. IMHO it was clean, and the only person responsible for Lee getting lit up like that was Lee. He knew Tate was there ( as he was covering him). What was Tate supposed to do? Stand there and let Lee hit the QB? Using your helmet, pads or arms to block aren’t against the rules, a wr coming back and blocking isn’t against the rules, there isn’t even a rule against blocking against a defender by hitting him in the head, that rule simply doesn’t exist….. ( as for the name it’s a nickname I got when I was working excessive hours ” cockroaches and I can’t be killed” LOL)

    • Artthiel

       Rule No. 1 upon entering the football field of play: Put your head on swivel.

  • Bayviewherb

    I waited for Sportscenter to talk about the game. They even had a feature about some of the rookie QB’s winning. Nary a word about the Seahawk-Coqboy game or our rookie QB.

    • Artthiel

       You need to stay up later, after the World Series of Poker.

    • Jamo57

      I said to my son the only time ESPN doesn’t spend a lot of time on the Cowboys is when they get drilled by the Seahawks.    Watching Chris Berman give a summary of the game on The Blitz was hilarious as you could tell he did not have the facts of the game right.   In fairness to Chris with the game being a West Coast afternoon affair, he was probably getting the details of the game for the first time and was probably summarizing in real time.   But it was short and wrong.

      Further fuel for us ‘east coast bias’ conspiracy theorists.   LOL.

  • jafabian

    Can’t believe this was the same team that struggled against the Cardinals.  But then again, the Cards beat the Pats at home.  In fact, the entire NFC Worst won on Sunday!  Obviously, a sign of the apocalpyse!

    • Artthiel

       Need to get a title done before the Mayan calendar hits the expiration date.

  • Michael Kaiser

    The story says, “NFL hubris drips like acid rain from Markbreit’s account. Most telling was the phrase, ‘Nobody turns the NFL down.’ In five words, it captures the belief held by owners and commissioner Roger Goodell that the league views itself as infallible, untouchable and invincible. You know, like a Mexican drug cartel.” . . . . or a local state bar association.
    Really, though, I was having the same thought today about how full the NFL is of itself, and especially Goodell (Uh, former lawyer schooled in the same arrogant “it is a privilege to associate with us” that you get from bar associations) when I saw that Tate was getting fined. It was clean hit. And I also bet that Goodell is secretly happy about what has become of the Saints since Goodell’s unbelievable overkill of a punishment in that situation.
    Interestingly enough, the ref thing does not get me the same way, but I am not sure why. Perhaps It is because for some reason I really lost interest in the NFL several years ago. The generic, sanitized sameness that passes today for NFL football is not the Lester Hayes, Jack Tatum, yes, even Brian Bosworth NFL that used to be entertaining. But, if Goodell can punish the Saints the way he did for behavior that purportedly increased the chance of injury to players, he really does need to take a look at his own actions regarding replacement refs and the increased danger of injury that now exists in EVERY GAME, not just when a team is playing the Saints.

  • jafabian

    The good thing about when the Hawks are on MNF: I get things done on Sunday I normally don’t during football season.

  • Matt712

    It’s indicative of the vanishing(ed) middle class in pro sports. A reflection of society and human nature within it: Give anyone (be it a person or organization) enough money/power and it will eventually begin to believe it is exceptional in many other ways beyond what got it there. Not really any different at its arrogant core than David Stern telling Seattle to go eff itself, or the Mariner brass’ stance on a new stadium, or if you want to go back even further, the NFL blackout policy.

    And it’s culminating in an apparent belief that they don’t even have to offer the best product to their customers because we’ll buy it anyway. Why? Because we will. Reminds me of a line from a Harvey Danger song:

    “pomposity is when you always think you’re right, arrogance is when you know.”