The Washington Huskies gave the crowd in Hack Edmundson’s pavilion to cheer until Thursday night.
They hurried to gain a double-digit advantage over a rival away in Oregon, at one point scoring 23 points and escaping in the second half with a 78-67 victory when the regular season begins to wind down.
Terrell Brown Jr., the leader in the Pac-12, scored 25 points in the win. Also Emit Matthews Jr. Nate Roberts scored 18 points and finished the double-double with 16 rebounds.
The Huskies (15-14, 10-9 Pac-12) also threw eight dunks on their way to dismantling the Ducks, less than six weeks after they suffered their one-sided defeat of the season from Oregon to Eugene.
“This game is momentum and energy, and to win it, it strengthens self-confidence, it creates a lot of unity,” said Husky coach Mike Hopkins.
There was a lot to celebrate. Fans across the arena were on their feet at the last minute and were greeted when Brown brought out his watch.
Thus ended a series of six consecutive defeats by the Ducks and a drought of five games against their opponents at home to the Huskies. Until Thursday, UW had not beaten Oregon in Seattle since the 2015 season.
“The word was cruel, and I felt we were cruel tonight,” Hopkins said. “We know how good they are, always have been. We fought against them. … I felt that today we were a very tough team, and we did what needed to be done. “
The Huskies now have an important boost in the regular season final against Oregon on Saturday afternoon before they head to the Pac-12 tournament, which begins Wednesday in Las Vegas.
The Huskies also didn’t take long to finally gain control of the competition. UW combined two quick runs – one in the first five minutes of the half and the other in the last five minutes – to fuel what ultimately became a double-digit advantage at the break.
Brown scored the first eight UW points, giving the Huskies their first pull-up advantage in less than three minutes and increasing the score to 8-4 to 15:39.
Ducks (18-12, 11-8) responded with a series of nine points before UW responded, and led to De’Vion Harman’s jumper at 1:37 p.m. Only seven minutes later Brown did not catch up to the next jumper, and the Huskies regained the lead with a score of 18-17.
But Oregon never returned it. Brown scored a pair of free throws with 4:10 left in the first half to bring the Huskies ahead forever.
This basket became the key 12-0 result, which was completed by two hands of Matthews after the Ducks turn.
Oregon responded with a three-pointer to Harman for the next possession, but UW still led 33-23 at the break.
“They missed a couple of throws around the basket and we were able to get out at the crossing,” Hopkins said of the race before the break. “I thought we were the aggressor. I thought we attacked them, and it was good. “
The Huskies also limited Oregon to the other end, holding Dax to 27.3 percent off the floor in the first 20 minutes.
“We’re locked in defense,” Roberts said. “Whenever we get a boost, it always erupts from defense. In almost all the games where we won, it was in defense.
“We do our best when we stop teams and then go over and get light buckets, so I think that was the root of it all.”
UW continued the offensive in the second half, opening the series 8-0, thanks to Matthews ’seven quick points.
Oregon did not score in their first five possessions, and UW continued to retreat. The Huskies increased the lead by 21 points to 15:46, when Cole Bahama forced Oregon to come back, Brown grabbed the free ball and threw it to Roberts at the other end of the floor.
Roberts pulled out a pass, then spun under the hoop and threw a soak with one hand to lift the crowd and make the score 46-25.
UW’s lead ranged around a 20-point mark – and reached 23 points on Roberts ’basket from 12:40 before the game – most of the rest of the way.
The Ducks never cut it to single digits, although their three players reached double digits. Harman led Oregon with 17 points, while Quincy Guerrier had 16 and Jacob Young added 14.
The Huskies were ahead of the Ducks in shooting – 45.8 percent off the floor to 38.2 in Oregon. They were ahead of the Ducks on the glass – 41:38. And they held the lead for a full 30 minutes in one of the most compelling performances of the season.
“We had some opportunities against the top tier teams in the league, and we had great moments in those games, but we couldn’t finish,” Hopkins said. “Tonight we are done. This is a good basketball team. They have a great coach. They have a really good team. And I was just happy that our guys felt it. “
This story was originally published March 3, 2022, 9:33 p.m.