Washington Huskies’ Ten Best Tournament Wins Of The Romar Era


The Washington Huskies are once again absent from the NCAA Tournament. With a ridiculously talented 2015 recruiting class set to rejuvinate the program, and most of the current roster returning, next year might be the year. In the meantime. here is a great list of good times to reminisce to.

10) Isaiah and the Huskies take down the Dawgs in the NCAA Tournament

9) Will Conroy sparks the beginning of an era

8) 2010 Pac-10 Championship and ensuing impromptu dunk contest

7) Huskies get their revenge on the Cardinal

6) UW runs New Mexico’s Sweet 16 hopes into the ground

5) Huskies overcome Stoudamire’s 37 for their first Pac-10 Title

4) 2006 Second Round Comeback Against Defending National Runner-Ups

3) UW outlasts Klay’s 43 and hang on for 89-87 win

1) Quincy Pondexter’s winner completes epic NCAA Tournament comeback

2) The Cold-Blooded 2011 Pac-10 Championship

Immediately following the conclusion of this game, I had a headache for the rest of the night. Now, I admit, me having a headache and the conclusion of the 2011 Pac-10 Championship might appear to be two entirely unrelated events, but I assure you, they are not.

The title bout went back-and-forth for all 45 minutes, although Arizona lead for almost three-fourths of the game. But with 6:29 left, the Washington Huskies took a 59-55 lead on an Isaiah Thomas layup.

Next, however, in a painful turn of events, the Wildcats responded with an 8-0 run, grabbing the lead back at 63-59. Guess who responds for the Huskies?

You guessed Isaiah Thomas, right? Good, that would be correct.

I.T. drained one from long-distance pulling the Dawgs within one, with 33 seconds to play. But Arizona had an answer as Derrick Williams scored on a three-point play extending the lead back to four at 66-62 with 26 seconds left. A play like that is typically considered the nail in the coffin. The UW bench slumped in their seats, and Scott Suggs was visibly distraught after commiting the unfortunate foul. 

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Thomas wasn’t having any of it.

He sprinted down the court, drew two defenders and kicked out to Terrence Ross in the right corner for another three. The Huskies then fouled Momo Jones, who knocked in two free throws giving Arizona a 68-65 with 14 seconds remaing.

Again, Thomas was not going to take second place for an answer.

In a mirror image of the previous possesion, Thomas drove straight by Jones, drawing the help defense, and hitting C.J. Wilcox in the left corner for the game-tying three to send the game into overtime.

The extra period was just as hard-fought as regulation, with UW leading by one after Matthew Bryan-Amaning fouling out, and Arizona star Solomon hill hitting two free throws. A dunk from C.J. Wilcox then extended the lead to three with 44 seconds to go, but Kevin Parrom tied the game at 75-75 with a three-pointer from the right wing. 19 seconds were left on the clock.

I’ll let Thomas speak for himself on what happened next, (you can read the full Players’ Tribune article here).

“There was no play call. Coach Romar tried to call a timeout, but I waved him off. Not tonight, coach. Nineteen seconds left in a tie game with the Pac-10 championship on the line? I had the ball. I was taking that shot.

When I took the inbounds pass, I waved Coach Romar off and walked the ball up the court slowly — I wanted that clock to tick down. I held up four fingers and waved everyone down to the baseline. We called it ‘four flat.’ It was our isolation play, to get me one-on-one with the defender.

I wanted to wait until time wound down and just cross over and shoot. I’d crossed that same defender pretty hard earlier in the game, so I figured I had it, but this time he played it well — so well that as I crossed, I thought I had a better shot taking it to the basket instead of pulling up.

In that split second of hesitation, I lost the ball. You can see my head turn back to locate the ball, knowing I was in trouble and I had to get a shot off.

I had to step back. That was my only choice. But I’m left-handed and I was fading back to my left. As a shooter, you want to step back opposite your shooting hand. Kemba, who’s right-handed, stepped back to his left.

It was actually the accidental step-back that freed me up. If I hadn’t lost the ball, I don’t think I would’ve had the space to get the shot off. It gave me so much separation that the defender didn’t even have a chance. 

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It was the first time I ever stepped back to the left and shot, and as soon as I let it go, I knew it was good.”

Thomas played all 45 minutes of this game, and had been on the court for 123 out of 125 minutes in the past three days. It’s safe to say, he was ending the game right then and there.

Coach Romar backed off, like, ‘Okay, do your thing.’ It was the first time he let me call him off like that, and it was because he trusted me. I had it going the whole tournament, and we both knew I was still feeling it.”

That you were Isaiah. have never seen a single player carry his team to a Championship like Isaiah Thomas did in this tournament. Without Abdul Gaddy and Venoy Overton to help run the show, Thomas was the show. MBA, Holiday, Ross and Wilcox played well, but this team would have imploded with I.T.

And of course, they also would have one less Pac-10/12 championship to their name.

“It was perfect. Just as it hit the net, the clock hit zero and the backboard lit up as if to say, ‘Yeah, dude just hit that.’ I couldn’t have timed it more perfectly.”

At the same moment, roughly 1,100 miles away, I leaped in the air and hit my head on the ceiling, causing a thumping noise as if to say, “James, you’re an idiot.”

Joke’s on you, it was worth it!

Here are the Huskies highlights from the game, courtesy of qbsacker.

Don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you hanging like that!

Relive the rest of the Washington Huskies’ top ten tournament wins under Coach Romar!

*All of the above photos are from USA Today Sports.

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