Huskies fall after big comeback

A late Husky charge sparked by Nate Robinson, Will Conroy and Brandon Roy brought Washington back from a 13-point deficit with 3:32 remaining to force overtime Saturday night against UCLA, but the Bruins escaped in the extra session with an 86-84 win in front of 7,638 rabid fans at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

The Bruins (8-3, 4-0 Pac-10) were led in scoring by senior T.J. Cummings, who tossed in 22. Freshman forward Trevor Ariza added 21, and two others finished in double-digits as well.

Ariza scored five of the Bruins' 11 points in overtime and the Huskies failed to convert when it counted most, leading to another loss for the purple and gold. Washington had a chance to tie the game with the final possession of the ball, but Conroy's driving layin attempt missed and the rebound resulted in a jump ball, Husky possession. Needing a miracle, the inbounds pass went to Roy near the rim but the shot didn't draw iron.

"We tried to throw the ball to Brandon," said Husky coach Lorenzo Romar of the final play. "With that little amount of time it was the only thing we thought we could get off.

Even after an emotional loss, Romar said he was pleased with the way his team played.

"I'm proud of our guys," he said. "The way they competed and didn't quit. They fought really hard and scrapped."

Conroy paced the Husky attack all night long, at times seeming like the team's only offensive weapon on the floor, scoring a game-high 29 points to lead the way for Washington (5-7, 0-4 Pac-10).

"Will Conroy had a monster game for us," said Romar. "When you talk about 29 points, seven rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers, that is a monster game."

Robinson added 18, and Roy 16.

Those three – Conroy, Robinson, and Roy – were the players the Huskies leaned on in the final minutes, needing a miracle to close a double-digit deficit and draw back into the game against a much taller UCLA team. The trio responded, stepping up to the challenge.

The UW comeback started after a thunderous dunk by Ariza had put the Bruins ahead 70-57, seeming to end all thoughts of a Husky surge. But it didn't as Robinson and Conroy each hit a pair of free throws on consecutive trips down the floor to draw to within nine. Following two Ryan Wolcott free throws, the Huskies went on a 10-0 run behind a 19-footer by Roy, a putback by Rollins, a three-point play by Conroy and another three-point play after a steal by Robinson.

Trying to stop the momentum, the Bruins temporarily stopped the bleeding with a layin from Janou Rubin. Washington pulled to within on the next rip down the court, getting a layin from Robinson, then forced a stop at the other end of the court.

Washington took its first lead in the second half on its next possession as Tre Simmons rolled off of a high screen, received a Conroy pass and laid it in.

Ariza answered by hitting one of two free throws to tie the game at 75-75, unfazed by the roudy Husky fans. That's where the score stayed after both teams failed to convert with final possessions.

The final minutes of the game overshadowed what was a dull first half. In the first 20 minutes, Washington seemed to have no answers for the taller Bruins, which at one point had a lineup that's smallest player was 6-foot-7. Unable to get anything going offensively, the Huskies fell behind while the crowd had little to cheer about, heading to half behind 38-27.

It wasn't until the final three minutes, with a quick lineup that forced the Bruins into turnovers, that the Huskies managed to claw their way back in the game and ignite the crowd.

"The crowd was great," said Roy, the team's second-year swingman. "This place was electric.

"That was the best crowd I've ever seen in my life, and it was great to be a part of it."

Absent for Washington was third-year sophomore forward Mike Jensen, not physically but on the stat sheet. The 6-foot-7 forward was forced to match up against seven-footers in Michael Fey and Ryan Hollins, and couldn't match up. In 16 minutes of playing time, Jensen recorded one rebound (coming with 2:30 left in overtime) and didn't score or dish an assist. Anthony Washington, battling foot troubles in recent weeks, didn't fare much better, held scoreless and pulling down two rebounds in 15 minutes.

Next Up: The Huskies travel to Oregon for two games next week. The first comes Thursday in Eugene, a 6 p.m. tipoff against the Ducks that will be televised by FSN. The second is Saturday, when the Dawgs travel to Corvallis for a 1 p.m. tip against the Beavers. That also will be televised by FSN.

1-2-3-4-5: With three minutes left in the game, Romar sent out a lineup that included players donning the numbers 1-5: Tre Simmons (1), Nate Robinson (2), Brandon Roy (3), Hakeem Rollins (4), and Will Conroy (5). The five-some was the best lineup on the floor all night for Washingto, bringing the Huskies back to force overtime behind a frenetic pace on both ends of the court.

The Return of Watts: Former Husky shooting guard Donald Watts teamed with Jim Watson on the Fox Sports Net television broadcast of the game. Watts got a quick education with the cameras, shook off early nerves, and appeared to enjoy being in front of the camera from that point forward.

No Morrison: Former Lake Washington High star point guard and recent transfer from North Carolina, Brian Morrison, didn't play in the game due to a strained left hamstring. Morrison played two seasons with the Tar Heels and transferred prior to last season. Top Stories