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Monday, January 30, 2006 - Page updated at 01:13 PM

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UW Men's Basketball

"Dumb foul" in final second gives Stanford new life and a win

Seattle Times staff reporter

STANFORD, Calif. — Maybe this was karma finally giving the Huskies some payback for Nate Robinson's shot in Corvallis more than two years ago that turned the Washington program around.

Because Sunday's 76-67 overtime loss at Stanford was as inexplicable a defeat as that game against the Beavers was a win.

And it had almost the exact same feel — a miracle as time ran out that officially sent the game into overtime but essentially ended it.

This time, it was Stanford's Chris Hernandez making three free throws after being fouled by UW freshman point guard Justin Dentmon as Hernandez attempted a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded on a play that began with 2.1 seconds remaining. Hernandez made all three to force overtime.

"You could see the look [in the eyes of UW players] that there's no way you think you are going to lose that with 2.1 seconds left," said Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar. "You feel the game is over. The unheard-of situation happened. So now you've got to come back from it. It took a lot out of us."

Washington never recovered as the Cardinal cruised in overtime to hand the Huskies (16-4, 5-4) their second straight loss and put them in a tie with USC for fifth place in the Pac-10.

"What you hope at this point is that we don't take a nosedive," Romar said. "I've seen teams in these situations not recover from it, and we've got to make sure that we bounce back."

Surely having the most to rebound from is Dentmon. Because even though any loss is larger than one play and one person, there is little doubt this one will be remembered for his foul that put Hernandez at the line.

Washington appeared ready to snap a 12-game losing streak at Maples Pavilion — its longest in any Pac-10 arena — when Brandon Roy made two free throws to put the Huskies ahead 63-60 with 2.1 seconds remaining. Roy, who scored a game-high 25 points in 41 minutes, had stolen the ball on the other end to foil what figured to be Stanford's last real chance to win the game.

Roy, who said all week getting a win at Maples before his career ended was a big goal, admitted he allowed himself to think, "Yeah, we did it, we finally did it."

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During two timeouts, Romar told his team not to let Stanford get off a clean three-pointer, allowing the Cardinal a two-pointer if necessary. He figured Stanford would try to inbound the ball to 6-11 Matt Haryasz, who would then look for a guard cutting to the three-point line. Romar said he didn't discuss fouling and putting the Cardinal at the line, only to "not let them catch it" in position for a three-pointer.

Stanford dialed up a play it calls "Home run," and Lawrence Hill threw the ball to Haryasz at about midcourt. Haryasz said he noticed Hernandez had beaten his man, Dentmon, and tossed it to the senior guard in a play reminiscent of one made famous by Valparaiso's Bryce Drew in the 1998 NCAA tournament.

Dentmon, knowing he was beat on the play, said he wanted to at least distract Hernandez.

"My plan was just to run past him," Dentmon said. "My hand just got caught into his and I fouled him. ... It was just a dumb foul. Just a mental mistake."

Nobody on the Huskies really disputed the call, though Dentmon said he thought it came after the buzzer. A review determined it was a foul behind the three-point line with 0.2 seconds on the clock.

Hernandez, shooting 85.7 percent from the line this year, swished the first two. Then after a UW timeout, he made the third after it hit the front of the rim, then the back, and bounced in.

"I've had that situation in high school a few times and I've been pretty successful," Hernandez said.

Stanford scored the first five points of overtime, and the game was essentially over.

"I'm still kicking myself because I think for the first time in basketball, I felt sorry for myself," said Roy. "Like, 'Man, I did everything I could to win and then that happened.' It took me a minute to get my engine going. I think Bobby [Jones] felt the same way. I think Jamaal [Williams] felt the same way."

Romar said "the sad part" was that the Huskies played so hard until the end.

"We can't lose sight of the fact that we are 16-4," Romar said. "There is still so much to play for."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

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