Huskies Eventually Get It Done, Defeat UCLA 86-84

Up 18 at the half, Washington nearly collapsed at UCLA but four free throws by senior Andrew Andrews helped the Huskies finish off a game Bruins team 86-84 Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles to stay tied atop the Pac-12 standings.

With the win, Washington remains tied with Oregon for first place. The Ducks broke Arizona's 49-game home winning streak earlier Thursday night.  The win also gives Washington the series sweep over the Bruins. The Huskies beat UCLA in Seattle in double-overtime on New Year's Day. 

“To come in here and get a victory, that doesn’t happen that often," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. Romar is now 13-14 all-time versus UCLA. "For us to come in here and the way we did it, I’m ecstatic.”

Noah Dickerson, who injured his left ankle mid-way through the first half, led six Washington (13-6,5-2) players in double-figures with 15 points.

“It’s okay. I played through it," Dickerson said post-game. "I’ll rest up the next day and a half and I’ll be right back to it.” 

The Huskies play Saturday at noon versus USC.

Andrew Andrews and Marquese Chriss each scored 12, while Matisse Thybulle and David Crisp added 11 and Dominic Green threw in 10 off the bench. 

Bryce Alford had 28 points, including 22 in the second half, to pace the Bruins (12-8, 3-4). Isaac Hamilton scored 17, Tony Parker 16, and Aaron Holiday 11.

“They ran a lot of ball screens and we were switching the ball screens," Dickerson said of Alford's torrid second half. "You have to respect his jump shot, and when he hesitates you don’t know which way he wants to go. He can drive you, step back…he’s really hard to guard.”

The Bruins, who had only come back from a deficit as large as 18 points once the last 20 years, actually took an 82-79 lead on an Alford three with 2:04 remaining.  It was UCLA's first lead of the game. By that time, Chriss, Thybulle, and Malik Dime had all fouled out. 

But the balanced-scoring Huskies, who had 27 bench points, got a clutch response from sophomore Donaven Dorsey - who hit a three from the corner nearest the UW bench after a big rebound by Murray gave Washington a chance to tie. 

“If it’s open, it’s open," Dickerson said of the shot. "That’s what coach Romar says. If it’s uncontested, shoot it."

Andrews was able to call time out in a scramble with 52 seconds remaining, and forced a foul with 43 seconds to play. He calmly sank both free throws. 

Alford, who found joy switching at the top of the key to get one-on-one situations against the injured Dickerson, made a runner off of Dorsey, who had come in late in an attempt by Romar to go smaller and take advantage of the Huskies' quickness and length. 

With the game tied at 84 and the Huskies with the last possession before overtime, Andrews came up clutch once again. Off a ball fake along the left elbow, he got UCLA's Parker off the ground, and then went up to shoot. The official had no choice but to call a foul as Andrews was crumpled by the massive Parker.

It was the 54th foul call of the game. 

Andrews again cooly sank both shots with 3.4 seconds left. The Bruins got Alford the ball in-bounds, who then lobbed it to Hamilton along the right sideline just inside the three-point line. His contested jumper hit iron and bounced clear - giving Washington the win. 

“Tremendous job," Romar said of his senior guard. "He set the tone in the first half. He penetrated and got guys easy shots. He made life easier for us on the offensive end. Down the stretch, old reliable. He makes good things happen.”

“We have a team with a lot of heart," added Dickerson. "It doesn’t matter how big someone is, they’ll go get rebounds, they’ll go guard bigger players. I think we’re all prepared for this situation.”

It truly was a tale of two halves, as Washington blitzed the Bruins the first half 51-33, while UCLA did the Dawgs in 51-35. 

The Huskies started out with what has become their normal switching defense, which really caused UCLA fits to start. UW forced 12 turnovers, but they also got a lot of work done on the offensive glass, with eight offensive rebounds that helped them score 10 second-chance points. Washington was also 6-10 from three, which certainly didn't hurt their cause. 

The Bruins didn't help themselves at all from the line, making only 10 of 18 shots in the first half. 

“It’s very good when that ball goes in," Romar said, matter-of-factly. "It’s a shame in one respect the way we played the second half. We were playing such good basketball up 18, but couldn’t sustain it. But we still competed and hit free throws. Donaven Dorsey’s three was money for us. It’s fun to coach these guys, win or lose. They are right there with you and they are together. I’m proud of them.”

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