LOS ANGELES - Playing in their Pacific-10 Conference opener against one of their toughest rivals, the Washington Huskies somehow found themselves being led by true freshman Terrence Ross.
Then, in overtime, Ross fouled out. But somehow, the Huskies pulled it out anyway – a 73-67 win over Southern California at the Galen Center.
The Trojans had swept Washington last season, and for long stretches, it seemed that they were in position to claim this season’s opener as well.
However, Ross struck a spark in the first half when it was much needed, and he continued at key moments of the second half when it was needed most. He ended with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.
Senior Matthew Bryan-Amaning contributed 18 points and eight rebounds. Venoy Overton, Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy all hit key free throws when the Trojans fouled in overtime.
It finally proved enough to offset a 28-point performance by Southern California’s Nikola Vucevic.
The Huskies started horribly. They missed their first five shots and weren’t much better at the other end.
Less than nine minutes in, the Trojans were up 16-4.
However, Romar called timeout, had a word with his team, and shifted them into a 2-3 zone.
Slowly, the Huskies started climbing back.
The process sped considerably when Ross came off the bench to hit back-to-back 3s.
Then, fittingly, it was Ross his gave the Huskies gave the Huskies their first lead late in the first half, sending them into the locker room with a 28-26 lead.
In the second half, the teams picked up where they left off, with the teams swapping leads but never quite able to shake the other. And it stayed that way through the end of regulation.
Washington returns to Pac-10 action at 1 p.m. Friday with a New Year’s Eve date at UCLA.