After briefly mounting a double digit lead, UW's defensive focus that had been so strong in the first half wavered and the lead dwindled to as little as four points.
Unfortunately, the grueling schedule of the conference tournament seemed to catch up to the Ducks as their shots started to clank off the front rim and failed to sustain any momentum during the Huskies' lapse.
Then with 3:58 left, C.J. Wilcox was fouled in the act of hitting a 3-pointer from the corner and hit the ensuing free throw to put the Huskies up 61-47 to seemingly end whatever hopes Oregon had for a comeback.
Although this seems to be a return to concerns earlier in the season about putting together consistent 40 minute performances, witnessing a performance that resembles anything close to what we saw from the Huskies earlier this season has to be somewhat refreshing for Huskies fans.
As a nice touch to symbolize how important UW guard Isaiah Thomas is to this team even without scoring, he tied the Pac-10 tournament record for assists with 12 to go along with 10 points on a poor shooting night. With Thomas cold from the field, underclassmen Wilcox and Terrence Ross stepped up to combine for 21 points on 10-for-21 shooting, with Ross punctuating the win with a beautiful around-the-back dribble and dunk late in the game.
Ross also continued to show signs of growth with three assists and a steal that came from good help position and a nice read of a pass through a small gap in the defense. Darnell Gant finished one bucket shy of a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds and eight points. Also noteworthy is that after grabbing only one rebound in the first half, Matthew Bryan-Amaning got big with six in the second half.
Leading Oregon's second half effort was Joevan Catron, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. But after picking up his fourth foul with 8:21 left in the game and the Ducks down five, the Huskies went on an 8 to 2 run that gave them enough of a cushion to advance to the Pac-10 Tournament championship game against Arizona tomorrow afternoon and solidify their place in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.