The Washington Huskies, in control for much of the night, fell to the Oregon Ducks 80-77 in overtime Thursday night in the Pac-12 conference quarterfinals in Las Vegas. Washington, now 18-15, fly home hopeful of getting a call from the N.I.T. on Monday. Oregon advances to the conference semis against Utah.
In a game that was at times long on effort and short on beauty, the two teams exchanged control of the contest. The Huskies got off to a quick start in the first half. Led by the resurgent Scott Suggs, Washington twice led the game by seven. The Ducks fought back and had their biggest lead of the first half, five points, at the break.
The second half was more of the same, only this time it was C.J. Wilcox leading the Dawgs, and Oregon responding with their front line of E.J. Singler, Arsalan Kazemi, and Tony Woods. Kazemi, held to two points in the first half, had a strong second half and an even stronger overtime in becoming a key factor in Oregon's victory.
Even as the "bigs" strove mightily against one another in the paint, there was an opportunity for the smallest man in the Pac-12 to be fitted with hero shoes. Washington led by two late. With 16 seconds on the clock Vegas native Johnathan Loyd had his moment. Oregon's backup point guard and a 58% foul shooter on the year, Loyd hit two clutch free throws to tie the game. He followed that up by knocking the ball free from Wilcox to send the game into overtime.
For Lorenzo Romar it was another night of watching a chance slip away. The Dawgs have had more than their share of those nights this season. If, as expected, the N.I.T. comes to call, Romar can hope that the ends of those games smile on his team with a bit more frequency.