Washington Huskies 77, Arizona Wildcats 75 -- Plain Heartbreak

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12: Isaiah Thomas #2 of the Washington Huskies makes a last-second shot in overtime over the arm of Lamont Jones #12 of the Arizona Wildcats to lead the Huskies to a 77-75 victory in the championship game of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)


Isaiah Thomas is a "little monster."

That's what Sean Miller called the tiny but fiery guard in Seattle, Wash., and after a game winning shot that sent the Wildcats home without the Pac-10 trophy that was so within their grasp.

Thomas' shot dropped just as the buzzer sounded, a dagger to Arizona's will that saw them lead by four, 66-62, with less than a minute left.

But in the end, they didn't close, something they've gotten away with throughout the season. Against Washington, that wasn't going to happen. Thomas' 28 points and seven assists came in 45 minutes played, a ridiculous number considering all things.

 

The little monster averaged 41 minutes per game, for three games in three days. He was too much, and as much as Derrick Williams' 24 points and 11 rebounds kept Arizona alive -- if not in the lead -- throughout the contest, you knew Thomas wasn't going to NOT have the last word.

Yesterday, after advancing, he said the Huskies wanted revenge.

They got it, and Thomas twisted his way through Arizona's defense, causing perimeter defenders like Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill, who each had 12 points, drop into the paint.

All he had to do was pass out of it. And twice, Washington's two freshman starters, Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox, knocked in crucial 3-pointers.

The final one, by Wilcox, tied it up at 68 points apiece, and with 5.7 seconds left, guard Momo Jones couldn't nail a wild 3.

Overtime was Washington's time. Parrom scored on a 3-pointer to tie it at 75, making up for a tired transitional defensive possesion that got the Huskies an easy dunk for two points.

But Thomas waived off his coach -- Lorenzo Romar wanted a timeout -- and then called off a pick. It was just him and Momo Jones. Not to Jones' fault, Thomas was on the winning end of it all.

Little monster he is, and maybe the Wildcats can take away something from this one. Where Williams will lead Arizona with sound statistics, it was Thomas' belief in his teammates that pulled the Huskies over the top of the No. 1-seeded Wildcats.

Tournament chances

Tomorrow comes Selection Sunday and this game probably hasn't hurt Arizona's seeding too much. While a win could have helped push UA to perhaps a No. 3 seed and thus, and easy opponent, it could have also taught Arizona a valuable lesson.

That lesson is the pain of losing. What they do with that pain could make or break a sound NCAA Tournament run.

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