Texas Tech beat UW, 99-92, in overtime. And Tech fans therefore got their second chance to swarm the court, although the second time seemed notably less frenzied.
Overtime also gave Tech fans a chance to chant "O-ver-rated," at the 12th-ranked and previously unbeaten Huskies (now 5-1).
But coach Pat Knight put a quick end to that.... partly out of sportsmanship, partly out of self-interest.
"I made them stop the chant because that’s what I think of Washington," he said. "I don’t like that at all. All that does is fire them up. They’re good. They’re darn good. Quincy and Isaiah those are pros to me. Good kids, too. They’ll talk trash and just play hard. That’s a heck of a team we beat tonight."
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Knight said he was especially worried about the dramatic turn that sent the game into overtime.
"Take that adrenaline flow like that, you get on a high like that and then be told you have to go into overtime, I was really worried that we’d come out flat," he said. "… But we ended up winning twice.
Quincy Pondexter was hoping the same thing:
“I thought we were going to win,” he said. “There was no doubt on my mind. You see it sometimes on ESPN where a team thinks they’ve won, fans storm the floor, and they don’t win. The other team comes back and has the momentum and they win. But that wasn’t the case. (We lost) twice. It was definitely surreal. It happened twice.”
UW coach Lorenzo Romar said he watched the last shot with hands almost covering his eyes, and he thought the shot might have beat the buzzer. Naturally, he was happy to find he was wrong.
“I think our team felt like, ‘Wow, we’ve got another shot at this,” he said. “I think our team was pretty excited.”
Several key moments made the issue moot.
One came in the final seconds of regulation when Elston Turner missed two free throws, either of which would have put UW ahead.
“It wasn’t pressure or nothing,” he said. “They just bounced off. They both felt good.”
Then there was Matthew Bryan-Amaning's inbound pass from under the UW basket, which was stolen and turned into points on the other end. The Huskies said that MBA's first option was a pass to Pondexter, but when the Red Raiders had that covered, MBA underthrew his pass out past the 3-point line, with disastrous results.
And then there was Isaiah Thomas, who struggled from the field again, hitting four of 15 shots on his way to 18 points. Thomas is now 9-of-31 over his last two games.
“Shots not falling,” he said. “It is what it is. .. I’m just not finishing shots.” Yet for all of the Huskies’ failings, they received the reprieve of overtime. And they seemed surprised they couldn’t make that pay off.
But for all that, the consensus was that the Huskies lost the game in the first half when they allowed Texas Tech to hit 17-of-31 shots -- 54.8.
“We played horribly in the first half,” said Turner, who had 15 points in his first start of the season. “Basically we beat ourselves. We gave up (too many) points, and about 20 or 30 of them were our own mistakes. We had turnovers, missed free throws. That was a big loss.”
Romar saw it the same way: "If we played the first half like we played the second half," he said, "we’d be smiling right now."
Washington returns to Hec Edmundson Pavilion at 7 p.m. Sunday, meeting Cal State Northridge.
End of regulation: Texas Tech's Mike Singletary seemed to win the game with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Tech fans swarmed the court, but a review showed that the shot came after the buzzer.
The shot came when Tech rushed down court in the final 4.8 seconds after Elston Turner had missed a pair of foul shots with the score even at 80.
We're headed for overtime.
2nd/40 seconds left: Tied, 80-80. Get to a TV.
2nd/6:18 Huskies nosed ahead briefly. Now Tech back up, 72-71.
2nd/12:00 The Huskies briefly pulled even at 60, but Tech answered with a bucket, foul shot and now has possession again. But the Huskies had seemed on the verge of losing contact, and they've at least snapped out of that.
Second half: Has begun. Romar going with same unit that started.
Halftime: The Red Raiders lead, 50-41 at half. All those points are coming from Tech hitting 55.6 percent from the field and UW 54.8 percent. First team to play defense might win.
Pondexter leads UW with 10 points. Thomas and Turner have eight each.
For Tech, Mike Singletary is as good as advertised with 10 points. But the guy really making the difference is reserve Brad Reese, who averaged 5.6 points but has 14 at halftime tonight.
Tech also leads on the boards, 17-13.
1st/15:47 Tied at 9. Both teams have been careless with the ball in the front court, setting on breaks to the other end.
Small crowd, but the Tech student section is loud.
UW is just 3-of-6 on foul shots.
Elston Turner is guarding Tech top scorer Mike Singletary, and vice versa.
Tipoff: Game has begun. Reminder that it's on ESPN2.
Lineup: The Huskies have tweaked their starting lineup again, this time starting neither Darnell Gant nor Tyreese Breshers, but Elston Turner (who played his senior high school season across the state in Missouri City). Turner will start along with Venoy Overton (already chirping with the Tech students), Isaiah Thomas, MBA, and Quincy Pondexter.
Pregame: Driving to the arena, I was listening to the local sports-talk station, and they were saying that UW is the highest-ranked non-Big-12 team to come into Lubbock in their memory and certainly the highest-ranked non-conference opponent since the construction of United Spirit Arena in 1998.
However, as implied in my story this morning, that doesn't seem to have ignited the campus or the town. There are straps blocking off the upper seating areas, indication that only the lower bowl will be used tonight. Full capacity is 15,000.
90 minutes to tipoff: Several Huskies have drifted onto the court at United Spirit Arena. Huskies wearing their road purples tonight.
Only one Red Raider is on the court. And only a dozen or so fans, including a couple of rows of young guys in red, presumably Tech's version of the Dawg Pack.
Normal gameday blogging planned here: pregame news at it happens, lineups, in-game updates and then postgame notes and quotes from the locker room.
Meanwhile, it is cooooooolllllllld outside, with a snowflakes drifting in the air, although not yet sticking to the ground much. But no telling what will greet us as we leave the arena.
The Huskies, btw, return tonight on a charter flight.