His teammates lifted Isaiah Thomas on their shoulders at center court amid a sea of purple, and the Huskies star pumped both his arms toward the ceiling of Staples Center.

Consider that roof raised.

Thomas scored 28 points, the final when he stepped back and hit a game-winning 18-foot jumper as time expired in overtime to send third-seeded Washington over top-seeded Arizona 77-75 in the wild, thrilling and oh-so-sweet championship game of the Pac-10 tournament.

Thomas fittingly was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Freshman Terrence Ross, making his third consecutive start after not starting all season, scored 17 points, as the Huskies (23-10) withstood foul trouble almost from tipoff and a month of turmoil and poor play to win the league's tournament again. Last year's title propelled the Dawgs to the Sweet 16s of the NCAA tournament.

Woof it up, Dawg fans. UW is back in "The Dance."

Those concerned about the short turnaround forgot that this is the exact scenario that played out last year. The resilient Huskies -- a third seed and doubted then, too -- won consecutive night-owl games to advance to a Saturday afternoon title game. That was also against the regular-season conference champion with which UW had split two previous games, California. Those Huskies raced to a high-intensity win - and kept racing all the way into the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.

Arizona (27-7) was trying for fifth Pac-10 tournament title.

After Thomas' vintage scoring performance of 19 in the first half, he got help in the second.

Ross came out smokin' following the break, erasing UW's three-point deficit by scoring seven points in the first six minutes of the second half. His alley-ooop dunk off a pass by Thomas that soared toward the Lakers' title banners here put Washington ahead 44-43, and the game's intensity cranked up noticeably from there.


Darnell Gant, an L.A.-area native with a dozen friends and family in the seats, continually saved possessions with hustle plays and offensive rebounds. Yet Arizona kept coming, and Washington kept getting more players into foul trouble. Bryan-Amaning and N'Diaye each had four for the final 5 minutes trying to deny Williams. But Arizona's star made two free throws to put Arizona back ahead by 1 with 2:56 left.

Thomas was then called for a charge, and Lamont Jones put Arizona ahead 63-59 with 1:42 left. Washington went 6 minutes without a basket while the Wildcats took the lead, until Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 32.7 seconds left.


The Huskies' game plan of feeding Matthew Bryan-Amaning inside changed when he picked up two fouls in the first 7 minutes for the third consecutive game. Denied a post option, with 7-foot sophomore Aziz N'Diaye continuing to struggle offensively, Thomas simply took over.

He was six of nine from the field, including three out of four from 3-point range, while Bryan-Amaning sat for 11 of the first 20 minutes. No other had more than five points in the half, which ended with UW down 36-33 - and leading in fouls 10-3.

The last time the Huskies beat a ranked Arizona team was also on a March 12, in 2005. And it was also in Pac-10 tournament title game.