Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 3/8/12
LOS ANGELES --- All season long Tony Wroten has made big plays for the Washington Huskies. So with the Huskies trailing Oregon State 84-83 with 31 seconds remaining in the Pac-12 quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon, there was no secret who was going to have the ball in their hands Wroten. The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year drove and missed a layup, but got his own rebound, only to be fouled with an opportunity to give the Huskies a lead at the free throw line. He missed them both. The charity stripe has been one place Wroten hasn't seen success in his freshman season, shooting just 57 for the season. After Jared Cunningham missed two free throws on the Beavers' next possession, Wroten, who was not available for comment, finished the game with 29 points and seven rebounds, was in an identical situation with nine seconds remaining. Once again, he missed them both. Cunningham went onto finish off the game at the free throw line, making two and lifting the Beavers to the upset of top-seed Washington 86-84. "That stretch at the end was nail biting," Cunningham said. "I fouled Tony (Wroten) going to the basket and that wasn't part of the gameplan going to the end. He got to the free throw line and wasn't that successful." Added Washington forward Darnell Gant, "After the first two misses (Wroten) was real down on himself and I tried to encourage him because right after that Jared Cunningham missed two free throws, so he got another opportunity even though he didn't cease that moment." It was a potentially NCAA Tournament crushing afternoon for the Huskies at Staples Center. Washington (21-10) trailed by 13 at the half but stormed out of the locker room, outscoring Oregon State (19-13) 21-8 in the first seven minutes of the second half. The Huskies led by as many as eight in the second half while keeping the Beavers' backcourt of Cunningham and Ahmad Starks scoreless for nearly the first 16 minutes of the half. The duo combined for 21 points in the first half, but didn't score their first points of the second half until Cunningham made two free throws with 4:02 left in the game. However, they made key shots down the stretch that was largely controlled by the Huskies. Starks hit a three point basket with one minute left in the game to pull the Beavers within one point, 83-82. On Oregon State's next possession, Cunningham went around a screen and turned the corner to get to the basket for a layup plus the foul. The Beavers went up 84-83 with 31 seconds remaining and never looked back. It was their first lead since the 13:37 mark of the second half. "Your best player has to help you win these kinds of games," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "Jared had a not Jared-like shooting night but he almost had a triple double and he won the game for us with his play." Cunningham finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to help the Beavers defeat the top seed in the conference tournament for the first time in school history. The Huskies have now lost two in row and their fate rests in the hands of the NCAA Selection Committee. "I know we haven't won as many games as we should have in non-conference as a league," Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I would think the Pac-12 champion would be able to find a place in the NCAA Tournament. We certainly didn't help ourselves today but I would think we would be able to find ourselves in there but I am not on the committee. We're just kind of at the mercy of their decision." Robinson believes the team his Beavers beat on Thursday is an NCAA Tournament team. "I sure hope so. I hope that they're an NCAA team because we just beat an NCAA team and we think we can be a good NCAA team," Robinson said. "I know our league is considered down but people don't understand how many good teams we have in this conference. I know before the game I thought they were well in ...If they're not and it's because of us, that's a good thing." The Huskies are left to reflect until their postseason plans are determined. "If we have the opportunity to play again (the little things are) something we got to make sure we focus on," Romar said. "Right now we're just kind of playing the waiting game and see what's going to happen. I do believe we will be playing in the postseason somewhere, just not sure where and what tournament." The Huskies, winners of the last two conference tournaments, lose in the conference tournament for the first time since falling to Arizona State in the 2009 semifinals. That season they were also the number one seed.
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