“I said one day we’re going to get it; I didn’t know when we would get it," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game when asked if he expected UW to be at the top of the Pac-12 standings after three games. "And we still haven’t gotten it yet. But because of our effort and because of our belief, and our guys play together and stick together, we’re just able to get by enough until we continue to get better. And I think this team will continue to get better. This was another first for us and a challenge. It was a road game, a true road game. Our guys came out on top.”
Up two, Washington State had a chance to tie the game but Ike Iroegbu couldn't come up with a contested jumper. Andrews leaped high to secure the rebound around the Cougars' Josh Hawkinson and was immediately fouled with three seconds left.
Andrews, who led the Huskies (11-4, 3-0) with 29 points, calmly made both free throws to provide the final margin of victory.
“Washington State played a great game, took us to the limit," Romar said. "But just really proud of our guys that went on the road and only committed eight turnovers. You had a freshman, Dejounte Murray, step up and carry us in the first half. It was a team effort. Noah Dickerson stepped up. Malik Dime stepped up. It all stemmed from the straw that stirs the drink, and Andrew Andrews, our senior leader, was just phenomenal again today.
“Washington State took it to us. They played a fantastic game, but our guys didn’t quit. One of the marks of a veteran team is whether they’re at home or on the road, up or down, they play the same way; they continue to do the same things that they’ve worked on. Even though our group is young I thought that’s what we did tonight. Whatever the circumstances were, we continued to play the way we’ve been practicing."
Murray added 25 for Washington -16 in the first half, while Dickerson scored 16 and Dime 14 for the Huskies.
Iroegbu scored a career-high 28 points for Washington State (9-6, 1-2), while Hawkinson chipped in 21, Charles Callison 14, Conor Clifford 11, and Renard Suggs 10 for the Cougars.
Down six at halftime, Washington was able to up their intensity and tie the game at 56 after a Dickerson layin. Both teams pushed back and forth for the next eight minutes until an Andrews three with 8:25 gave the Huskies a 73-70 lead.
A David Crisp slashing layin gave UW their biggest lead of the game - 10 points - with 4:24 to go in regulation, but the Cougars were far from dead and buried. They came back with nine unanswered to cut the Huskies' lead to 85-84 with 81 seconds to play.
But Andrews, as he did all second half, came up with points when it counted - nailing two free throws. After three points from Iroegbu tied it up at 87, Andrews had one more chance to be an end-of-game hero - just as he did with a dagger three to defeat the Cougars in Pullman a year ago.
A ball fake got Hawkinson up in the air and Andrews drew contact while he shot - but the referees didn't call a foul as his shot never hit iron.
“We were supposed to kind of have a slip, on-ball screen and they ended up switching it," Andrews said of the final play in regularion. "We were supposed to do it fast enough that they didn’t switch but they did it anyway so I tried to get him (Josh Hawkinson) up in the air. I feel like I got him in the air and get the foul but they didn’t call it. So that’s part of the game and you’ve got to move on and go into overtime with our heads up”
"We thought the guy was there and there was contact made, but the official didn’t feel like he had jumped far enough to warrant calling a foul,” added Romar.
In overtime, an Andrews layup and dunk from Dickerson after Murray found him alone, pushed UW quickly out to a four-point lead, and WSU would never regain a lead. A Hawkinson layin with 30 seconds to go cut the Huskies' lead to just a point, but he was unable to make the and-1 opportunity, and that's where Andrews was able to get to the foul line to salt the game away.
Between Andrews and Murray, they accounted for 14 of Washington's 15 assists, while only combining for one turnover.
The Huskies also battled through foul issues, as they committed 30 on the day and had four players foul out - Dickerson, Dime, Marquese Chriss, and Matisse Thybulle. Washington State didn't really make the Huskies pay for it, however, only making 23 of 37 foul shots.
"That’s the way the PAC-12 has been calling the games and the NCAA has told the refs to call games," Andrews said. "Any type of hand check, any type of bumps on the body is going to be a foul. So we just have to adjust and mature with showing our hands and playing with our chests.”
The Huskies had a difficult time with Washington State's switching at the top of the key, allowing for a lot of looks for WSU's bigs against smaller UW players. The Huskies countered by denying entry passes and fronting, with help from behind closer to the rim. It also took Washington often out of good rebounding position. By half, WSU was out-rebounding Washington 22-15, but the Huskies balanced it out a bit by the end of the game with the Cougars only out-rebounding them by three, 42-39.
We were switching everything. So we knew going into the game that they were probably going to score over the top on us, but that was what we were going to give up, willing to give up. Hopefully we could take them out of their offense, but they still did a good job of finding holes and getting offensive rebounds.”