CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — After traveling all this way for the NCAA tournament, Washington is going to stick around a little while longer.
Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points and the seventh-seeded Huskies held off a late rally to beat 10th-seeded Georgia 68-65 on Friday night in the second round of the East regional.
Scott Suggs added 10 points for the Huskies (24-10), who shot 43 percent and withstood a frantic final-minute push to win their fifth straight NCAA tournament opener and earn a spot opposite No. 2 seed North Carolina (27-7) on Sunday in the third round.
Trey Thompkins had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (21-12), who trailed by 10 with 2 minutes left but made things interesting in the closing seconds.
Thompkins hit a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds remaining to make it 67-65 and Georgia fouled C.J. Wilcox with 3.7 seconds left. Wilcox made the first and missed the second.
Jeremy Price grabbed the rebound for the Bulldogs and flung the ball downcourt. Thomas got a hand on the pass but Travis Leslie scooped it up and hoisted an awkward 3 that bounced high off the glass after the buzzer.
Thomas, the MVP of the Pac-10 tournament last week after his buzzer-beating 18-footer in overtime won it for the Huskies, was 6 of 14 in this one. He reached double figures for the 91st time in 104 career games for Washington, which entered with the nation’s third-highest-scoring offense but was held 15 points below its average of 83.5.
The Huskies’ 2,802-mile trip to their opening-weekend destination was the longest for any team in the tournament.
Leslie and Gerald Robinson each scored 12 points and Price added 11 for Georgia, which got no points from its bench. The Bulldogs have one tournament win since 1996 and have gone one-and-done in four of their last five NCAA appearances.
Neither team led by more than seven until early in the second half, when the Huskies finally managed to turn up the tempo against a Georgia team determined to slow things down.
Washington, which prefers to play at a faster pace, turned 15 Georgia turnovers into 17 points and outscored the Bulldogs 15-4 on the fast break. The Huskies seemed to pull away with a 17-5 run early in the second half and went up by double figures for the first time on Venoy Overton’s drive through the lane that made it 45-35 with 12 1/2 minutes left.
Overton, who returned to the court after being suspended for the Pac-10 tournament, hit a layup with 2 minutes left to put the Huskies up 63-53 and in control — or so it seemed.