Noah Dickerson scored the first points of the game at the free throw line after the whistle was blown in the very first minute of play. Fitting, considering the level of zeal we've seen from officiating crews in the Pac-12 this season.
After a messy, turnover-ridden start, a Hamilton jumper brought UCLA to within a possession at 11-9 with 12:14 left in the first half. Immediately following, the Huskies went on a quick run that brought the score to 22-9 on a lucky banked jumper from Dickerson. The Bruins responded with a timeout with 9:46 left.
By the time Coach Alford called his next timeout to end yet another Washington run, it was 30-15 just before the 7:00 mark. Over the next few minutes Tony Parker would make his presence felt inside, scoring several baskets in the paint. Still, the Bruins failed to get the stops necessary to capitalize and cut into the deficit.
Chriss splashed a three to make it 41-25 with just over two minutes left. Andrews was forced to the bench when he committed his third foul a few seconds later, but even in the absence of their leading scorer the Huskies guarded the double-digit lead.
The score at halftime was 51-33 Washington. It was a balanced half of scoring for the Huskies, with Thybulle leading with 11 points. Both Chriss and Crisp scored 8, while Noah Dickerson and Dominic Green scored 7. Murray had a rough half, turning the ball over three times and shooting 1-6 from the field.
Washington did not have an ideal start to the second half, as Thybulle picked up his fourth foul and the Bruins scored six points on the first two possessions of the half. Chriss settled the team down with a three-point play of his own.
Parker bullied Chriss and Dickerson on two possessions before the 18:00 minutes mark, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and scoring 5 points in the process.
Dime picked up his fourth foul after the Huskies gave up an offensive rebound after a missed UCLA free throw. The free throws that resulted brought it to 64-52 with 12:21 remaining.
Two straight baskets trimmed the Husky lead to 10 and brought a slumbering Pauley Pavilion crowd to life at the 10:38 mark, but the energy was switched off by a hand check foul call near half court that put Andrews at the line.
The call brought out the UCLA boos given the context of a game largely defined by very tight officiating. Both teams were victimized by overly sensitive refereeing throughout the contest.
Sticking to that theme, Andrews picked up his fourth foul 9:11 left and the free throws made it 68-60. Crisp answered with a timely three-pointer.
Dime and Thybulle each fouled out in the next couple minutes as UCLA chipped away with free throws. A clutch three from Bryce Alford made it 72-68 with only 6:02 remaining. He scored again on a crafty layup to trim the lead to two.
UCLA were hurt by foul trouble of their own, as Holiday picked up his fifth just before the five minute mark. Chriss hit both free throws, but Alford once again created a three-point play to give himself 18 points.
Andrews drew a fifth foul on Welsh and converted both to make it 76-73 with only 4:39 remaining. Having firmly taken control of the offense, Alford demanded the ball yet again and drew a fifth foul on Chriss.
After struggling all night, Murray hit a corner three to make it 79-75, but the Huskies gave up a Parker dunk on the other end. Of course, Alford responded with a basket.
A TV timeout was called with 3:03 remaining, the game tied up 79-79, a massive halftime lead having fully slipped away.
In a frantic sequence, Dorsey clanked a three-point attempt only to have Alford splash one on the other end to take a three point lead. Crisp missed a frantic shot on the next possession, but after a Hamilton miss Dorsey redeemed himself by hitting the biggest shot of his life.
The Bruins called a timeout with 1:10 remaining and the game tied 82-82. Alford missed a jumper and Andrews came away with the ball after a mad scramble and wisely took a timeout from the floor.
Andrews drove recklessly into the paint but was bailed out by a whistle with 42 second left. He hit the first and then saw the second slowly rim in. Alford quickly tied it back up with 29 seconds remaining.
"Shot clock off, game shot at...13...He's going to take it himself...AND FOULED!" Gus Johnson was clearly prepared to repeat his famous Pac-10 Tournament call of Isaiah Thomas' game-winner against Arizona, but he had to settle for a shot-fake whistle and two free throws from Andrews.
UCLA had three seconds to heave the ball down court and take one last good look at a game-winning three from Hamilton, but it didn't fall.
The Huskies gutted out an 86-84 win in Westwood, moving to 6-2 in conference play. They play USC on Saturday.
Team MVP for Washington has to be Noah Dickerson. He played hurt the entire second half and still finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds, staying on the floor after multiple bigs had fouled out.
Andrews was thrown off by foul trouble, but still finished with 12 points, 8 assist, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and the game-winning free throws. He has tried to draw a whistle on pump-fake contact at least twice in the final seconds of games this season, and finally it paid off.
UCLA fans will certainly be unhappy with the call, but it was fitting given that the referees dominated the entire contest. Alford scored 28 points and largely fueled the furious Bruins comeback, and lord only knows what he would have done to the Huskies in overtime if given the chance.
We can be upset that Washington gave up such a dominant lead. I'm certainly concerned by the manner in which they rushed offensive possessions throughout the second half, and it's increasingly infuriating that they cannot avoid foul trouble.
Yet they still beat UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, a much-needed W after a tough loss to Utah last week. They are tied with Oregon at the top of the conference, and no matter how frustrating the process can be, any effort that secures a road win in the Pac-12 is a good one.