LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Washington Huskies men’s basketball team was in a thriller Thursday afternoon when it battled with the USC Trojans in the Pac-12 championship at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Huskies came in as the No. 1 seed and the Trojans came in as the No. 8 seed, but that didn’t stop them from giving the Huskies all they could handle.
Washington cruised in the first half, quickly gaining a seven-point lead and maintaining a multiple-possession lead for the majority of the game. The Huskies took a double-digit lead at one point but the Trojans battled back to make the halftime score 43-38 in Washington’s favor.
In the second half, the Huskies could never shake USC. Every time Washington went on a run the Trojans would storm back to keep it close.
Things really got heated with about one minute left, when USC’s Jonah Mathews drilled a three-point shot to bring the Trojans within one point of the Huskies, 72-71. Washington responded with a three of its own when Dominic Green was assisted by David Crisp following a timeout on the ensuing possession.
U-Dub’s Matisse Thybulle stole the ball from Derryck Thornton and ran it down the court for an uncontested windmill slam dunk to give the Huskies a six-point lead with 32 seconds left on the clock.
The Trojans scored four unanswered points before Jaylen Nowell hit a free throw to put the Huskies up by three points. With three seconds left on the clock, Washington forced a USC turnover, ending the game and giving the Huskies the 78-75 win.
Nowell led the team in points scored with 24 while Crisp finished with 18. Naz Carter came off the bench to add 13 more points. Noah Dickerson had a rough day scoring but he managed to be a defensive presence, pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking a shot.
The Huskies now advance to the Pac-12 Semifinals. There, they’ll play the winner between Colorado and Oregon State. The semifinal game tips off Friday at 6:00 p.m. PT.