UW (12-10, 4-7 in Pac-12) held a narrow two point lead with 11 seconds remaining in regulation, but Isaac Jones tied things up with a dunk on WSU’s (16-6, 7-4) final possession to send it to overtime. In the extra five minutes, Myles Rice gave WSU a three point lead with a trey that they would hold onto for the final 1:54.
Coming into tonight’s contest, WSU trailed Arizona and Oregon by just a single game in the Pac-12 standings and could enter a tie for second with a win and an Oregon loss. Not only were Pac-12 implications on the line, but WSU’s at-large bid was in the balance. A win could boost the Cougars odds by as much as 15.3% to get a March Madness bid according to barttorvik.
Keion Brooks Jr. stood in WSU’s way of achieving a monumental victory. The 6’7 Fort Wayne, Indiana native scored 15 in the first half and another 18 in the second half en route to a 35 point performance, leading all scorers.
The senior forward’s first half helped Washington build a lead up to 11 in the first half with a jumper with 6:46 remaining in the first half. As the Husky crowd in Hec-Ed began to roar, Rueben Chinyelu helped end a 8-0 UW run with an inside bucket, sparking WSU’s own run. Kymany Houinsou chipped in with his own paint bucket before passing the torch to Isaac Jones, Andrej Jakimovksi and Oscar Cluff, then reclaiming the torch to end the 13-0 with a fastbreak layup to put WSU ahead by two. While Brooks responded with an and-one, Rice answered with a jumper to put WSU up one with 1:25 to go in the first half.
Hitting a go-ahead trey at the buzzer, Jakimovksi helped put the Cougs up four heading into the locker room.
Energized and refocused, the Huskies rattled off an 11-4 to open the second half, regaining a small lead.
Home team leading by three, Jaylen Wells and Jones each tacked in paint buckets to begin a tug-of-war that would see neither team lead by more than five for the remainder of the game.
UW’s Brooks tried to help the Huskies build a lead seizing run, but each of his early buckets were answered by the big fella, Oscar Cluff. The Australian native helped preserve WSU’s lead and the North Macedonia native, Jakimvoski, helped build it back up to four with his third trey of the night.
Sitting on the brink of letting the game get out of hand, the Huskies responded by scoring buckets in pairs to help chip into the lead and eventually, build a lead up to five with a Moses Wood three with 4:07 remaining.
Keeping the lead at three after a pair of WSU buckets, Jones and Wells helped make it a one point game with just 1:26 remaining. Wells came through again for the Cougs with a mid-range jumper with 34 ticks remaining to give WSU their first lead since the 10:08 mark.
In need of a bucket, UW turned to Sahvir Wheeler, who flew past the Cougar defense for a score inside to give the Huskies the lead back. On the potential go-ahead possession, a travel was called on Rice, forcing WSU to foul a Husky with 11 seconds remaining. WSU fouled Wood — an 87% free throw shooter on the season — sending him to the line for a pair. Wood cashed the first, but missed the second, giving WSU a pulse. With the clock winding and a season shifting win on the line, Rice found Jones inside for a game-tying dunk to send the game to overtime.
Entering overtime, Wheeler dealt the initial blow with a bucket inside to give UW the lead. Wheeler’s bucket proved to be the last field goal the Huskies would score for the remainder of the game. Rice and Jakimovski each cashed a pair of free throws to build a four point lead. Brooks knocked home his own pair of free throws to bring the game back within a possession with 2:16 to go, but Rice, yet again, drilled a dagger three that proved to be the game winner for WSU.
Shortly after WSU’s victory, Oregon fell to the UCLA Bruins. Moving WSU now into a tie for second in the Pac-12 standings. The Cougs will now hope to keep the momentum rolling into The Beaver State, traveling first to Corvallis for a matchup with the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday.