Terrence Ross ensured Washington is 3-1 and back among the Pac-12 leaders - heading into four consecutive home games.

Ross scored 14 points and looked as cool as this city's morning snow while making a crucial 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring, off great plays by Abdul Gaddy and Desmond Simmons with 2 minutes remaining. That swish and the sophomore's two free throws with 8.9 seconds left allowed the it's-never-easy Huskies to beat Utah 57-53 on Saturday afternoon at the sleepy Huntsman Center.

When it was over, Ross and his Huskies (9-6, 3-1 Pac-12) looked as happy that they don't have to answer "When are you going to win on the road?" any more than they were with the win over the slowdown Utes (4-11, 1-2) in the building where Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played a historic NCAA championship game in 1979.

"It was more of a relief than celebrating," Ross said. "We don't think, `Oh, we win. We are on our way.'

"We have to build from this."

For all the understandable angst over the loss at conference newcomer Colorado, Washington flew home Saturday afternoon back among the leaders in the anything-goes Pac-12.

The Huskies now return home for four games beginning Tuesday night against Seattle University then Sunday against Washington State. UW is 8-1 at Alaska Airlines Arena.

"This is a huge win for us," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Like I told our team (after this win), we have not put ourselves behind the pack, at all.

"If we continue to learn lessons, like we did today, I like the direction we are headed."

He loves where Simmons is headed. The redshirt freshman always seems to make the right plays, the kind of winning plays that coaches love. He finished with six points, 10 rebounds and that big-time assist to Ross from the lane to the top of the key and the Dawgs leading by three.

It was exactly the play - making the extra pass to create a better shot - that Romar demanded of his players following the loss at Colorado when UW rushed shots early in possessions to feed the home team's momentum.

"He does what it takes to win," Ross said. "He plays Huskies basketball."

Romar continued to praise Simmons, who was the first Husky off the bench to spell a new starting lineup of Ross, Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, Tony Wroten and Aziz N'Diaye.

"People will see his rebounds," Romar said, "but the box score won't show his heart."

The Huskies not only showed they could win on an opponent's home floor. They showed they could win playing an opponent's way.

{gohuskies.com}