Despite playing harassing defense all night, the Huskies had to come up with one more defensive stop with the game on the line.
Holding a 59-57 lead with 9.2 seconds, the Utes had the ball and a chance to win the game or send it to overtime. But the Dawgs dug in defensively, forcing Utah’s Delon Wright to shoot a fadeaway three-pointer that came up short as the buzzer expired, allowing the Huskies to escape with a much-needed 59-57 victory.
With No. 15 Colorado coming to town on Sunday, the Huskies (10-6, 2-1 Pac-12) knew they had to protect their home court against Utah (12-3, 1-2 Pac-12).
Washington started out strong, jumping out to an 8-0 lead and holding the Utes without a field goal until Wright made a layup with 12:38 remaining in the first half.
But the Dawgs couldn’t take advantage of their great defensive start. The Huskies turned the ball over four times during the run and allowed Utah to get to the foul line, allowing the Utes to claw ahead 9-8 with 10:03 remaining in the half.
The teams traded runs during the remainder of the first half, with the Huskies claiming a 26-21 halftime advantage.
The Utes stormed out of the locker room in the second half, using an 8-0 run to jump out to a 29-26 lead.
The teams traded buckets down the stretch, with Washington’s Andrew Andrews doing most all of the damage for the Huskies.
In the final 8:44, Andrews hit shots from numerous locations, collecting 12 points to propel the Huskies to the 59-57 lead. All the Huskies had to do was come up with one more stop, which they did.
“The more we start playing, the more people are going to stop focusing on C.J. (Wilcox),” Andrews said. “We need another person to step up and just take the load off.”
“It was good to see Andrews step up,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I was really pleased with that offensively.”
After allowing teams to score almost at will in non-conference play, the Huskies strong defense continued against Utah.
“Our defensive effort in the first half, I don’t know if we can play any better,” Romar said.
The Dawgs host No. 15 Colorado (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) on Sunday afternoon.