Crowd’s chants pump up Huskies
The finest game that Terrence Ross has ever played in a Washington Huskies uniform could be one of the few remaining in his time at Montlake.
On Friday, the splendid sophomore shooting guard showed exactly why he’s projected as a certain first-round NBA draft pick – and possibly a top-15 pick – if he decides to enter the draft after this season.
Ross scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while showing his amazing athleticism and his limitless potential offensively, leading the Huskies to a 76-55 win over the Northwestern Wildcats in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
After Ross buried his 31st and 32nd point of the night from the free-throw line, head coach Lorenzo Romar subbed him out of the game with just over 3 minutes left in the game. The crowd of 5,761 at Alaska Airlines Arena chanted “One more year! One more year!”
One more year? Well, that might not happen with millions of dollars ahead of him if he decides to leave.
But one more home game? That’s a guarantee.
With the win, Washington (23-10) moves to the quarterfinals of the NIT at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Huskies will host the winner of Sunday’s Oregon-Iowa game in Eugene. Northwestern ends its season at 19-14.
After the win, head coach Lorenzo Romar did something he has done only one other time in his 10 seasons at Washington. He grabbed the public address announcer’s microphone and addressed the crowd.
He thanked the crowd for coming to the game and called them “some of the greatest fans in America,” admitted they had hoped to be in the NCAA tournament, and implored them to show up for Tuesday’s game.
What prompted him to do that?
“Several reasons,” Romar said. “Having been here 10 years, we’ve had a pretty faithful crowd throughout those 10 years. They’ve really supported (us). They came out and they didn’t have to come out. I wanted to make sure they understood that we weren’t completely happy with how things turned out, but we wanted to show our appreciation that they still came out.”
But there was also another reason – Romar wants an even bigger crowd to come Tuesday.
“We have a chance to still do something special, and we need their support,” Romar said. “I just wanted to relay that to them.”
If the Huskies end up playing Oregon, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Make no mistake, the players all want to play the Ducks. The memory of the 82-57 loss to the Ducks in Eugene still hasn’t left their mind.
“I would love to play Oregon,” said Tony Wroten. “They embarrassed us last time.”
That game could be Ross’ final game at Alaska Airlines Arena. Of course, the talk of the NBA and his future makes the ultra-quiet Ross shrug his shoulders and shake his head.
“Right now I’m just focusing on this team,” Ross said. “As of right now, I’m still playing in college and still have a Husky jersey on and I’m just worried about this next game.”
Ross helped erase an eight-point deficit and ignite a 23-6 run that turned into a nine-point lead. He scored 12 points in the stretch, showing the arsenal of moves that make him so dangerous offensively.
He scored 15 points in the first half and didn’t let up in the second half, burying a 3-pointer, throwing down a highlight reel alley-oop dunk and then sinking another 3-pointer.
There was nothing Northwestern could do. Once Washington grabbed the lead, the Huskies pushed it 10, then 14, then 16.
C.J. Wilcox came off the bench to score 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Washington forced 11 first-half turnovers on a team that only averages 10 per game.
Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports