However, Georgia mounted a huge charge at the end, cutting Washington's double-digit lead to two points in the final seconds, before C.J. Wilcox hit one of two free throws and the Bulldogs' final 3-point try at the buzzer from about 30 hit the backboard and banged away.
"We were fortunate to be able to come out with a victory tonight and advance," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We were very concerned about Georgia's inside play and Trey Thompkins had a good game. He's a really good basketball player. We also knew that they do a good job defending. We had some good looks at the rim in the first half we weren't able to convert. But we came back in the second half, the guys did a good job, beared down, we were able to get a win.
"They're a good basketball team. We came out and played hard, played aggressive."
This was the first meeting between the schools in men's basketball.
This was Washington's fourth straight win.
This was Washington's first win in North Carolina after losing its first eight games here.
This is UW's third straight NCAA tournament appearance and sixth in Romar's nine seasons. UW is 18-16 all-time in the tournament.
With 19 points tonight, junior Isaiah Thomas passed 1,700 points, ranks sixth on UW's all-time list, and needs 35 more to move to fifth.
With seven assists, Thomas has 407 in his career and moved to third in UW history.
Washington's bench outscored Georgia's 28-0.
Washington advances to meet No. 2 seed North Carolina at 9:15 a.m. (PT) Sunday back here in Charlotte.
3:26 UW, 61-51.
7:57 UW, 53-44. Thomas has figured out that Ware cannot stay with him, and he has just lost him on three straight trips.
10:50 UW, 49-39 ... 21-11 since halftime.
12:22 Huskies open half with 17-7 run and have first double-digit lead, 45-35. Georgia scores in dog years, so that's a lot.
14:36 Gant hits a three, Bulldogs respond with an airball three as shot clock runs down. UW has largest lead, 40-32.
2nd/15:57 Huskies open a little daylight, 37-32, helped along by a really bad offensive goaltending call that took two off the board for the Bulldogs.
2nd half ... has begun.
Halftime: 28-28, with Isaiah Thomas tying it on a late drive ... but just his fourth point of the game.
Suggs leads UW with seven points, MBA six, then Thomas. Huskies shooting 35.3 percent and getting out-rebounded 20-18.
Thompkins has 15 points and eight rebounds... a good game, but a great half. Only two other Bulldogs scored: Robinson eight and Price five.
Sunday gametime: We've just gotten word that the winner of this game will face North Carolina at 9:15 a.m. (PT) Sunday.
1st/3:45 Georgia, 23-18. Huskies were shooting too many threes, but now that they're trying to drive, that's not working either. Very good Bulldogs defense. Meanwhile, there offense is largely Thompkins, who has 12 points -- one trey, but the rest directly under the basket.
1st/9:50 Romar's turn for time out as Thompkins putback and breakaway Leslie slam puts Georgia ahead, 20-14.
1st/11:20 UW, 14-13. Overton just checked in, meaning the available nine scholarship Huskies have all played in the first eight and a half minutes.
1st/12:47 UW, 12-9. Huskies were training 9-4 but now eight straight on 3-pointers by Suggs and Wilcox and a drive by Thomas. Georgia calls time. 1st/15:57 UW, 4-3, with Thompkins about to shoot a foul shot to tie. Early on Georgia looks like a team that's never actually shot a basketball before. However, UW has not been able to take advantage of that due to turnovers and some missed shots of their own.
Also Gant picked up two fouls in less than two minutes, so his move to the starting lineup is sort of negated. N'Diaye in now.
Tipoff: The game has begun.
More Georgia fans have filled in, btw, but there's a very impressive crowd from UW, considering the time and distance involved.
Warmups: The teams have taken the court: Huskies in white, Georgia in red.
UNC awaits: Tonight's UW-Georgia winner will advance to meet North Carolina, which just beat Long Island 102-87. The game will be Sunday, with time to be determined.
UNC's scoring was dominated by three players: forwards Tyler Zeller, 32; John Henson, 28; and Barnes, 24. No other Tar Heel scored in double digits.
UW delay: We have just been informed that the UW-Georgia game will tip off almost a half hour late: 7:08 Pacific time, 10:08 here in Charlotte. The announcement was booed
Lineups: We're just received the lineups, and coach Lorenzo Romar has chosen to make a change in the lineup that swept to the Pac-10 tournament title. He's sliding in Darnell Gant in place of C.J. Wilcox, so the lineup will be Thomas, Ross, MBA, Holiday and Gant.
Georgia will go with Thompkins, Price, Leslie, Ware, and Robinson.
Defending Thompkins -- while keeping MBA out of foul trouble -- is likely what led to Gant getting what will be his 11th start of the season.
The crowd: Not surprisingly, there is a lot of Carolina blue in the crowd. And also not surprisingly, not much purple. But a little more surprisingly, I'm not seeing much red. In fact, the second most popular color in here right now is white ... which also might not be that surprising because it got up around 80 here today.
(As I type this, our third rout of the day is playing out. North Carolina, 70, Long Island 58 with 11:51 left. The winner of this one advances against the UW-UGa. winner on Sunday.)
Second session: Two games have been played today in Charlotte, and neither has been close. First Michigan mauled Tennessee, then Duke mauled Hampton. And as I type this, North Carolina is up on Long Island at half, 53-42..
So that's likely to leave any suspense here for the nightcap: No. 7 Washington vs. No. 10 Georgia, 6:45 p.m.
If the ethernet here cooperates, the plan is to keep this post open all evening with pregame, in-game and postgame updates, notes and quotes ... and hopefully your comments.
One interesting thing before tip will be getting a look at coach Lorenzo Romar's lineup. I'm thinking N'Diaye or Gant in for Wilcox or Ross, but I say that with no particular confidence. We'll see.