Buoyed by another uncharacteristically strong 3-point shooting performance —and a well-timed missed dunk that changed the complexion of the game — it appeared as if the Washington Huskies would find a way to extend their season Wednesday night in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
But Stanford guard Chasson Randle buried a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left, and the Huskies lost, 71-69. Their miserable, frustrating season ends with a 16-15 overall record.
And it ended with a game they will feel should have been theirs. Stanford led by a single point when Anthony Brown caught an outlet pass, all by himself, and leapt for what should have been an easy slam dunk with a little more than four minutes remaining.
But he missed it, UW forward Jernard Jarreau grabbed the rebound, and Mike Anderson triggered a pass to Nigel Williams-Goss, who made a transition 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 66-64 lead with 3:58 to play.
Jarreau buried a corner 3-pointer on UW’s next possession to make it 69-64. Center Stefan Nastic, who led Stanford (19-12) with 21 points, scored twice to trim that lead to 69-68.
The Huskies shot 13-for-20 from 3-point range, four days after hitting 8-of-14 in a shocking upset over then-No. 13 Utah.
Washington’s savior in the first half was Dan Kingma, the 5-foot-10, 155-pound freshman walk-on from Jackson High in Mill Creek.
He’s received more playing time in recent games, and Wednesday he made his biggest impact yet, connecting on each of his three attempts from 3-point range in the first half. The score was tied, 32-32, at halftime, and Kingma was UW’s leading scorer with nine points.
His hot shooting helped offset Stanford’s obvious interior skill advantage, which again was exploited most frequently by Nastic. The 6-foot-11 senior scored 11 of his 21 points in the first half, mostly dropping soft, close hook shots into the hoop.
But Stanford had a hard time defending UW’s guards, particularly Williams-Goss. And particularly in the second half. After a shaky 1-for-7 performance before halftime, Williams-Goss made his first five shots of the second half, finishing with 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
He sparked a quick 10-2 run that gave the Huskies a 49-42 lead with 13:40 to play, their largest lead of the game at that point.
But a pair of turnovers on consecutive possessions yielded two easy baskets for the Cardinal, one by freshman forward Reid Travis and the next by Brown, tying the score at 51.
It was Andrew Andrews’ turn to take over after that. He pulled up and made a short jumper. He knocked down a 3-pointer. He pulled up for another jumper, this one just off the left baseline. And he made yet another short jumper on the next trip up the court, reeling off eight points in four possessions.
But Travis began asserting himself around that time, too, scoring nine of Stanford’s 13 points during a four-and-a-half minute period to keep the Cardinal within 60-59 with 7:45 left in the game.
It was Kingma who went to the free-throw line for a 1-and-1 inside the final 30 seconds, with UW leading by a point. He missed the first shot. Stanford rebounded, and Rosco Allen missed a jumper with fewer than 10 seconds remaining.
But the Cardinal rebounded his miss — one of 13 offensive boards for Stanford — and the ball wound up in Randle’s hands. The senior guard, who finished with only 10 points, nailed the long 3-pointer to end the Huskies’ season.
Andrews, who led UW with 22 points, missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.