But the Huskies self-destructed early and late, falling to the Nevada Wolf Pack 76-73 in overtime in Reno Friday night. Now all they have to do is beat either Marquette or Duke in New York’s Madison Square Garden next week to show the Huskies can win on the road.
Washington’s defense had few answers for Deonte Burton, a 6-1 sophomore point guard who scored 31 points, including eight in overtime. Burton hit the game’s biggest shot, a three-pointer with 4.3 seconds left in regulation to tie at 66 and force extra time.
The opportunity came about when freshman Tony Wroten failed to follow orders to foul Burton to deny his three-point attempt, or make him shoot three free throws.
“My intention was to foul him, so it was my fault,” Wroten said. “I reached in, but they didn’t call it.”
Said Romar: “Under five seconds, we going to foul. We didn’t execute.”
The Huskies (4-2) scored the first four points in OT, then Burton ran off eight in a row to give Nevada (5-3) a 74-71 lead. Terrence Ross, who led Washington with 18 points. closed the gap with a spinning layup, but reserve forward Kevin Panzer hit a jumper with 18.9 seconds left. Darnell Gant’s final attempt was blocked.
It was only the second time that Nevada beat the Huskies in eight meetings. The Wolf Pack lost in Seattle last season, 90-60.
In the first half, Washington showed little offensive organization, making 11 turnovers in the game’s first 11 minutes to fall behind 19-11. Wroten had three turnovers in his first two minutes in the game. But the Huskies rallied behind four three-pointers to take a 29-27 halftime lead.
Shut out in the first half, leading scorer C.J. Wilcox warmed up in the second half, scoring all of his 14 points to provide Washington with a 10-point lead. But more turnovers allowed Nevada, which used a slower pace and a zone defense to deny the Huskies its preferred up-tempo style, to crawl back late.
“We talk in practice about what we do with four minutes left,” Romar said. “We do three things: Get stops, take care of the ball and make free throws. We didn’t do any of those things.”
Ahead 65-63 with 10.7 second left, Gant, a senior, stepped to the line and made the first free throw but missed the second, allowing Nevada to race down and set up Burton for his tying trey.
“We had far too many turnovers,” Romar said. “We did some things that showed progress (a 77-64 defeat at Saint Louis) from last time on road, but not enough.”