Oregon St. jumped to a 20 point first half lead, but needed every point of it to hold off a furious Washington rally that cut the deficit to 1 point twice in the second half. The Huskies ran out of offensive gas, however, and the Beavers made 10 of 12 free throws for all of their points in the final 6 minutes, and pulled away to an11 point lead, before settling for the 8 point win, their first Pac-12 conference win of the season.
Oregon St. came roaring out of the gate, getting off to a 7-1 start, as Ahmad Starks made 2 baskets, 1 a 3 pointer, and assisted on the other, forcing Washington into an early timeout. That didn't phase the Beavers, as they extended the lead to 11-1 less than 4 minutes into the game, and made it 15-6 on Joe Butron's 3rd basket of the game barely 6 minutes in, as Oregon St. hit 6 of their first 8 shots, while Washington only hit 2 of 9.
The lead continued to grow, reaching 20-9 at the 10:41 mark on a 3 pointer by Olaf Schaftenaar, 27-12 on a 3 pointer by Roberto Nelson before the under 8 minute TV timeout, and reaching 20 points on a Devon Collier dunk at the 4:33 point that made it 34-14 Beavers.
The Huskies finally snapped out of their funk with a 6-0 run, and a 30 footer by Abdul Gaddy at the buzzer capped a 15-5 Washington run, making it 39-29 at halftime.
Collier led all scorers at the break, with 9 points, after hitting all 3 of his shots, plus 3 of 4 from the line. Collier had a complete half, with 5 rebounds and 4 assists as well. Burton was up to 8 points, and Starks 7. However, the Beavers were only 4 of 14 from 3 point range.
Washington got 8 first half points each from Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, and Scott Suggs.
Oregon St. Coach Craig Robinson (finally) made a key move as Eric Moreland started the second half in favor of the continually ineffective Jarmal Reid, and played with the starters most of the second half, logging most of his 34 minutes after the break. It proved to be the right move, as Moreland had 10 of his 12 points after the break, and had both of the baskets to rebuild 3 point leads after Washington had pulled within a single point.
After a pair of Oregon St. free throws, Washington went on a 6-0 run to pull within 6 points barely more than 2 minutes into the second half, and the Huskies pulled within 45-40 in a Suggs 2 + 1 less than 4 minutes in.
After playing man to man defense the entire first half, the Beavers switched to their 1-3-1 zone to try to slow down the Husky charge. However, that led to a Wilcox 3 pointer, and another 3 pointer by Wilcox had Washington within 53-52, forcing Oregon St. into a time out seconds before the under 12 minute media timeout would have been in order.
Moreland came to the rescue with a layin and a dunk though, and the Beavers began to draw away again.
"We were matching them, but we weren't stopping them," Robinson said. "We had to get the defense back into it."
Nelson and Starks both knocked down 3 pointers, which put 5 Oregon St. players into double digits, and reopened Oregon St.'s lead to 3 possessions, going up 64-57 with 6 minutes left.
After that, it was a matter of making free throws, and Collier made 5 of the first 7, pushing the lead back to 10 points, 71-61 in favor of the Beavers.
Wilcox knocked down his 4th 3 pointer of the game, though it took him 11 tries to get it, with 52 seconds left, but the Huskies turned the ball over with 37 seconds left, and that essentially ended it.
Collier led Oregon St., with 16 points and 7 rebounds, including 8 of 11 at the line, and Nelson was right behind, with 15, despite struggling from the field, due to knocking down 7 of 8 free throws.
"Roberto was only 3 of 14 from the field, but he had a great defensive game," Robinson felt.
Nelson was a workhorse, playing 37 minutes.
Burton had a solid, all around game, finishing with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 28 minutes of hard work.
"Joe was good from start to finish," Robinson said "When he's playing like that, we don't lose very often. And he's like having another coach on the floor."
"It felt great," Burton added "We were 0-5, but in practice, we said 'Treat it as a new season', and we just came out and did it."
Starks finished with 10 points, while Moreland put up a double double, his 8th of the season, with a co-game high (with Washington's Aziz N'Diaye) 10 rebounds to go with his 12 points. And Moreland had 4 blocked shots, which moved him into 3rd place on the Oregon St. career blocks list, and just 1 behind Steve Johnson.
"I thought we played parts of the UCLA game well, and then even more parts of the USC game well, especially in the comeback," Robinson said, "and that led to tonight playing even more parts of the game well."
Wilcox finished with a game high 23 points, with Gaddy getting 14 and Suggs 11. N'Diaye was uncontrollable at times on the boards, and posted a double double, with 10 points to go with his 10 rebounds.
It was the second win in a row for Oregon St. over Washington, improving the Beavers to 11-8, and 1-5 in the Pac-12, ending a 5 game losing streak. It was the second game in a row that the Huskies, who entered last Saturday night's game against Utah looking for a share of the Pac-12 lead, have been beaten in wire to wire fashion, and by the bottom 2 teams in the conference standings at the moment.
Washington, who was trying to get off to a 4-0 start in conference road games for the first time since 1953, fell to 12-7, and 4-2 in the Pac-12. Both the Utes and the Beavers out-shot the Huskies, this edition of which are the lowest scoring under coach Lorenzo Romar since he became the head coach in the 2002-03 season.
The late night start didn't deter the Beaver Dam, and Robinson gave them credit for helping with the win.
"As always, the Beaver Dam came through for us tonight," Robinson said. "We really needed their energy there in the second half."
But starting after 8:30 PM otherwise killed attendance, with only 4,213 turning out. The Washington game is usually the second best attended game of the season, behind only the Civil War.
Overall, the 8:30 weeknight Pac-12 games have so far drawn barely over 50% attendance overall.
#16 Oregon (17-2, 6-0) overcame Washington St. 68-61 tonight in the first game of the Northwest double header on the Pac-12 channel. Washington St. (10-9, 1-5) led the way in the first half, and used a 7-0 run to open a 10 point halftime lead. But the Cougs Couged away the lead, and the Ducks flew away (in front of a crowd of nearly 7,000 with the 6:30 start) to the win that has them off to a 6-0 lead in conference play for the first time since the '20s.
Oregon St. hosts Washington St. Saturday at 2 PM, while Washington visits Pac-12 leading Oregon at 4 PM. Both games, just like tonights' Pacific Northwest doubleheader, will also be on the Pac-12 channel.