Huskies' comeback comes up short

A valiant comeback fell short, as the Washington Huskies couldn't find the basket in the waning moments and the Florida Gators escaped with a hard-fought 86-84 win in the consolation game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City

With the Huskies down two with 2.5 seconds left and Isaiah Thomas at the line for the back end of a two-shot foul, Thomas was able to miss it and UW forward Jon Brockman was able to track the ball down. But the senior from Snohomish was double-teamed and could do nothing but put up a turnaround prayer that was unable to find iron.

It was a disappointing end for the Huskies, who came back from an 79-69 deficit in the final 5:35 of the game. Catalyzed by the play of Brockman and freshman guard Isaiah Thomas, Washington was able to tie the game on two Brockman foul shots with 1:08 left.

After a Florida timeout, it was the Gators' Walter Hodge who buried a three from the deep corner to give UF a lead that looked like it would hold up. But two Thomas free throws brought the lead back to one.

The Gators' leading scorer, Nick Calathes, missed a free throw to give the Huskies a chance to tie the game with 17 seconds left. Thomas' drive just leaked out of the basket, and the same happened to Brockman. Washington fouled Allan Chaney on the subsequent possession, but Chaney was not able to put the game away, only making one to give Washington one last chance, which resulted in Thomas' free throws and Brockman's last stab to tie the game.

Calathes had 21 for Florida (4-1), followed by the 13 each of Chaney and Dan Werner. Hodge chipped in 10. Brockman led the way for the Huskies (2-3) with 22, and Thomas and Justin Dentmon had 17 each.

Dentmon led a strong UW shooting effort on the night, as the Huskies shot 60 percent from the field (33-55) and 54 percent from 3-point territory (11-19). The senior guard was 5-5 from long distance.

"We resisted the early temptation to take that early shot," Romar said.

Thomas had nine assists, one more than Washington had as a team in their 73-54 loss to Kansas on Monday. They finished the day with 23 dimes.

The Huskies again showed their mettle on the glass, out-rebounding Florida 28-21 in a physical contest down low. The Gators didn't have the shot-blocking ability Kansas had the night before, and that allowed Brockman more room to maneuver and play his gritty game down low.

Washington came out of the gates running, and behind Dentmon's 14 first-half points, only trailed the Gators by five despite a Florida 10-0 run near the end of the half, spurned on by a full-court trap designed to force the young UW guards into turnovers.

"We didn't do a very good job of handling their press."

Washington was able to close the half out on a positive note as a steal led to a breakaway for UW's Justin Holiday, whose slam cut the lead to 42-37.


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