Friday, March 15, 2013
LAS VEGAS — Abdul Gaddy slumped in a chair inside the makeshift locker room at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, pondering his future.
“I just don’t want this to be my last game,” the Huskies’ senior guard said after Washington’s 80-77 overtime defeat to Oregon in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament.
Across the room, fellow senior Scott Suggs dressed silently and shared similar thoughts.
“It feels like my season is over,” he said. “I hope it’s not, but that’s how it feels right now.
“It’s out of our control. We had it in our hands, but now it’s not up to us. We just have to wait and see what happens.”
Over the next few days, the Huskies (18-15) will wait anxiously to discover whether they’ll receive an invitation to the National Invitational Tournament, where they advanced to the semifinals last year.
It’s not the postseason tournament they envisioned, but it’s the only one that’s available to them after a season that fell far short of their expectations.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said the team would decline a bid to the CBI.
“I can’t predict what happens in postseason anymore,” he said. “In 2007, we won 19 games and I thought we were two games away from being in the NCAA tournament and we didn’t get an NIT bid that year. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Obviously, I think we’re deserving of it, but I don’t know.”
In many ways, Thursday’s defeat was symbolic of the season.
“We had our chances down the stretch and didn’t capitalize on them,” Romar said. “When you have that small window to beat a team like Oregon, you’ve got to jump through it or it can close on you. And it closed on us.”
The Huskies led 58-52 with 6:24 left, but they never really had control of the game, which included seven lead changes and 14 ties.
With the score knotted at 64-64 on the final possession in regulation, C.J. Wilcox had the ball in his hands with a chance at a game-winner.
He never got off a shot because Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd poked the ball away and time ran out.
“He made a good play,” Wilcox said.
The extra period belonged to Oregon senior forward Arsalan Kazemi.
“He made grown-man plays,” Wilcox said. “He took over.”
Kazemi nearly outscored Washington in overtime. He had 11 of his 14 points in OT. He muscled his way to the rim for layups, rebounds and putbacks.
“I give a lot credit to Washington,” Kazemi said. “They played really good. They’re a great team. In the overtime, I think we were the tougher team and played better defense. The defense led to our offense. We got a couple of fast-break points.”
Kazemi punctuated Washington’s defeat with a breakaway dunk after a Gaddy turnover. The basket gave Oregon a 72-65 lead.
The Huskies closed it to 72-68 on Gaddy’s free throw with 28.1 seconds left, but they never seriously threatened again.
The Huskies won an emotional game Wednesday against cross-state rival Washington State, while Oregon had a bye.
If Washington was going to have dead legs after playing the previous night, then it was going to be apparent in the second half or in overtime.
Wilcox finished with 19 points, Suggs had 18 and Andrew Andrews 11.
“I never dreamed it could end like this,” Suggs said. “I hope it doesn’t. I hope we can get another game.”