Wroten block saves Huskies' day

2012-01-29T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:41:45Z Wroten block saves Huskies' dayPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 29, 2012 12:00 am  • 

After the din had quieted, the Washington Huskies had jumped around in the locker room and Tony Wroten had posed for pictures, the freshman guard sat on at a stool in the McKale Center hallway.

"It's definitely going to be something I can tell my kids when I grow up," he said.

He wouldn't start the story with his game-saving block as time expired in Washington's 69-67 win against the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday.

He said he'd want to build up to the climax. It's better storytelling that way.

Perhaps he'd talk of his own poor shooting day - 5 of 18 for 17 points - despite making a miracle 24-foot three-pointer in the second half as the shot clock expired.

He'd tell about how he had to be a true point guard four a nine-minute span in the second half - after Abdul Gaddy picked up his fourth foul - and how coach Lorenzo Romar told the freshman he was responsible for the team's taking a good shot on every possession.

Wroten would need to explain his teammates' struggles at the free- throw line that kept the game close in the final minute.

He'd certainly tell of friend Josiah Turner being whistled for a block 75 feet from the basket with 5.3 seconds left. There was a collision, and the Huskies got a call a road team should never count on.

"You have to kinda put that in your travel budget," Romar said.

He'd detail how C.J. Wilcox made both free throws to give UW a two-point lead, 17 seconds after missing the front end of a one-and-one that might have iced the game.

And then there was the block.

"Breathtaking," Wroten said.

Turner dribbled across the halfcourt line, around a Solomon Hill screen above the right elbow of the key. Wroten was guarding Turner, but switched onto Hill, letting Terrence Ross take the UA's speedy point guard.

Turner turned the corner toward the basket as the clock ticked down.

"When he drove past me, I was, 'I think it might have gave the game away,' because it looked like he was about to get an easy layup," Ross said.

The Huskies' defense collapsed toward Turner.

Wroten, now standing near the free-throw line, ran toward his buddy, who he knew would be shooting right-handed.

"Five seconds left - you gotta stop them from scoring," Wroten said.

Wroten figured the UA would win in overtime on momentum alone. He wouldn't let it get that far.

He leapt and swatted the shot with his left hand.

"He's starting to get a better understanding for what we want in terms of our team defense, so he's placing himself in better position to make those types of plays now," Romar said. "Earlier in the year, he might not have been there to make that play."

The ball landed in the hands of Nick Johnson, who scored, but only after time expired.

"Tony's a great player," said Ross, who scored 16 points in 36 minutes.

"That's what they do - they step up in big moments like this, find ways to get over the hump."

Wroten's future children might appreciate the block.

But to really understand, they need the back story.

Last year, in the same raucous McKale Center, the Huskies' Darnell Gant was swatted away by the Wildcats' Derrick Williams at the buzzer.

In front of the first "White Out" audience, the Wildcats walked off winners.

"It's kinda funny, how it works out," Wilcox said.

A high school-aged Wroten watched the game last year at the home of his cousin, former Washington great Nate Robinson.

When Gant got the ball, Wroten, in front of the NBA player's television, thought the Huskies were "definitely going to win this game."

Then Williams swooped in - much the way Wroten did Saturday.

"All of a sudden there's a block, and the crowd goes wild," Wroten remembered. "It's a coincidence how, at the end of the game, I got the game-winning block."

He smiled.

Makes for a great story, doesn't it?

"Most of my game-winners are on offense," he said. "So this is definitely a classic.

"I'll remember this forever."

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Utah 5 1 0 0.833 15 3 0 0.833
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
Washington 3 3 0 0.500 14 4 0 0.778
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
USC at
Oregon State
1/24 55-59
Washington State at
1/24 58-90
Arizona State at
1/24 70-89
Washington at
1/25 70-89
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
1/30 8:00 pm
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