Looked like it was going to happen again. Two nights after blowing an 11-point lead to Arizona in a loss, Washington saw its 15-point lead evaporate when Arizona State’s Jonathan Gilling hit a three with 1:01 remaining to tie the game at 89. But the Huskies outscored the Sun Devils 7-3 in the final minute en route to a much needed 96-92 victory Saturday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Yes, 96. It was Washington’s highest output of the season and came on the heels of a 53-point performance 48 hours before. The win halted a four-game losing streak for the Huskies (13-9, 5-4). Arizona State (17-5, 6-3) lost for just the third time in the last 12 games.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said he was “ecstatic” but that the team can’t expect to continue to win without better defense. Washington allowed the Sun Devils to shoot 63.8 percent. Freshman Jahii Carson, the Pac-12’s fifth-highest scorer, had 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting.
With ASU trailing 87-83 with 1:27 left, Carson connected on his first three-point shot attempt of the game. Washington surged again to go up 94-89 until Carson hit nothing but net on a running, NBA-range three with 14 seconds left.
After an ASU timeout, Huskies senior captain Abdul Gaddy, who made critical mistakes in the final minute Thursday, failed to in-bound the ball within five seconds. The violation gave the Sun Devils the ball, but Carson’s attempt at a game-tying layup with seven seconds left was deflected by UW center Aziz N’Diaye to prevent the tie.
C.J. Wilcox grabbed the ball, was fouled and made both free throws to finish off ASU.
N’Diaye had 16 points (7 of 8) and 10 rebounds, as well as 2-for-2 from the free-throw line – a rarity for the seven-footer.
Coming off the bench, freshman Andrew Andrews led Washington with a career-high 20 points. Shawn Kemp Jr., starting his second game, had 18, also a career high. Scott Suggs added 14 and Desmond Simmons 10. Gaddy had eight points, six of which came in the first five minutes.
Kemp, who made 9 of 14 shots with six rebounds, may have had his breakthrough game.
“Shawn Kemp, wow,” Romar said. “He played obviously his best game as a Husky.”
Two nights after committing a brutal turnover in the waning seconds of the 57-53 loss to Arizona Thursday on a failed alley-oop pass, Gaddy had seven assists. Wilcox finished with seven assists as well on a below-average night. Washington’s scoring leader didn’t take a shot until the 4:51 mark in the first half – an air ball.
“It (teammates scoring) helps and takes a lot of pressure off me,” Wilcox said.
Arizona State coach Herb Sendek received a technical foul with his team trailing, 54-48, one minute into the second half, for arguing with the officials. Washington went on a 9-0 run after the technical to build a 15-point lead before the late drama.