Washington squandered most of a 20-point lead but held on to nip Oklahoma 69-67 Saturday night at the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas. In beating the 15th-ranked Sooners, the 16th-rated Huskies improved to 10-0 for the first time since 2005-06 and now have an opportunity to match their best start (11-0) under head coach Lorenzo Romar.
The win was Washington’s second over a ranked opponent this season. UW defeated No. 13 San Diego State 49-36 Dec. 7 at Alaska Airlines Arena. This is also UW’s first victory over a ranked foe away from Seattle since an 84-73 triumph over Seton Hall in the Tipoff Tournament Nov. 17, 2012.
“I’m pretty proud of this win,” said Husky coach Lorenzo Romar. “We got the big lead, and I don’t know if we ran out of gas, but we didn’t have as high a level of intensity. But when it was necessary we got the stops and our guys did it. Oklahoma is the best team we’ve faced, they’re quick and they’re big. But we stayed together and didn’t take plays off. This was another great challenge for us.”
“This game will stick with us for the remainder of the season,” said UW forward Jernard Jerreau, who led the Huskies with 12 points and added six rebounds. “It will look good on our resume.”
The Huskies blew out to a 20-point lead midway through the first half, but started to fritter it away inside of three minutes when Oklahoma went on an 8-0 run. Washington took a 40-27 lead into the second half, but the Sooners kept chipping away, finally closing to 68-67 with less than a minute to play.
Washington could have iced it with 1:22 left, but Robert Upshaw missed two free throws and TaShawn Thomas hit a jumper with 59 seconds left.
Jordan Woodard had a look at a potential game-winning jumper in the final seconds, but missed and Andrew Andrews collected the rebound. Andrews drained a free throw with 0.6 seconds left to provide the winning margin and keep the Huskies one of nine unbeaten teams in Division I.
Washington went on a 15-0 run in the first half and built a 26-10 lead at the 10:25 mark, then increased that to 37-17 with with five minutes to play. But the Sooners scored eight consecutive points and pulled within to with 13 at halftime as the Huskies got tentative and started missing.
The Sooners came out energized in the second half and cut Washington’s lead to 44-37 on consecutive 3-point shots by Buddy Hield. After Washington extended its lead back to 10 on a Nigel Williams-Goss jumper at 11:43, the Sooners went on another run, but Washington led by nine 64-55 with 5:39 left.
Oklahoma pulled within 66-64 at 3:39 after collecting three consecutive offensive rebounds, and had a chance to win when it took possession with 16.4 seconds remaining.
Mike Anderson, who helped spark Washington’s early run with a pair of 3-pointers, scored 11 points, as did Upshaw, who added four rebounds and two blocks. Shawn Kemp Jr. added eight points and Williams-Goss had eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Hield and Isaiah Cousins led Oklahoma with 17 points each.
The Huskies’ next two are at Alaska Airlines Arena, meeting Tulane Monday night and Stony Brook Dec. 28. That closes out Washington’s non-conference schedule. UW opens Pac-12 play Friday, Jan. 2 at California.