Oregon St. Hangs On To Edge Washington St.

Challe Barton had a career high 11 points, including 3 3 pointers, to help Oregon St. to a 67-66 win at Washington St. Wednesday night. - (AP Photo by Dean Hare)

Final Score: Oregon St. 67 Washington St. 66

Oregon St. withstood a 3 point shooting barrage by Washington St. that cut a lead that twice was as large as 15 points down to 1 point, but the Beavers held on for a 1 point win. It was head coach Craig Robinson's first win against the Cougars and coach Ken Bone anywhere in eastern Washington.

Robinson made the move of the game in deciding to start Eric Moreland, and it paid off immediately. The insertion of Moreland was in response to Washington St. out-rebounding Oregon St. 33-22 when they beat the Beavers 71-68back on Jan. 26 in the teams' first meeting in Corvallis. Moreland had 6 rebounds in less than 9 minutes, and Oregon St. went on a 9-0 run to erase an early Washington St. lead, going up 13-7.

Moreland would go on to a double double, his 9th of the season, with a game high 14 rebounds, and 11 points, as well as 3 steals, 2 assists, and a block. Moreland's big night on the boards was a major factor in Oregon St. out-rebounding Washington St. 34-24, which led to the Beavers getting 12 second chance points, against only 2 by the Cougars.

The Beavers pulled ahead by as much as 10 points, going up 21-11 with 8 minutes left in the first half, on 3 free throws by Roberto Nelson, who again drew a foul while shooting a 3 pointer, something he's done several times of late.

The Cougars clawed back into it a little, and when Olaf Schaftenaar, who had hit a pair of first half 3 pointers, couldn't get a shot up at the end of the first half, Oregon St.'s lead was 33-26 at the break.

Oregon St. sprung their 1-3-1 zone defense on Washington St. to start the second half, and it resulted in 4 straight turnovers, which in turn resulted in the Beavers taking the first of 2 15 points leads, going up 43-28.

"The 1-3-1 really treated us well," Robinson said, "and its been a while since we got that kind of production out of it. What's notable is Ken (Bone) historically has done a good job against the 1-3-1. This might have been 1 of the best examples of it in the 5 years I've been here."

But then the Cougars, and especially DaVonte Lacy, began to shoot their way back into the game. Playing without Mike Ladd, who lit up the Beavers for 23 points on 10 of 11 shooting in the teams first meeting, but had to miss tonight's game with an injured left knee, and on a night when Brock Motum struggled from the field (Motum had 16 points, but made only 6 of 15 shots), it was Lacy who led the way for Washington St.

Lacy finished with a game high 27 points, which was also a career high, on 8 of 11 shooting, and most notably 7 of 9 from 3 point range.

Oregon St. compounded their own problems, suddenly going cold from the field. The Beavers went over 6 minutes with only a Moreland putback, which would prove to be crucial, before an Ahmad Starks 3 pointer, the only one of 5 he took on the night that went down, made it 51-43 with 8:40 still to go.

The made 3 did move Starks past Gary Payton into a tie with Deaundra Tanner for second place on the Oregon St. career made 3 pointer list, 1 shy of all-time leader Chris Stephens' record of 180. Starks is now also within 2 of Payton's single season record of 82.

The Cougars showed how to make 3 pointers though, with 6 consecutive baskets from 3 point range.

But D.J. Shelton, who had wrapped 2 of those 6 made 3s around yet another Moreland putback after an offensive rebound, missed a 3 pointer with 7 seconds left that would have tied the game at 66 all.

Oregon St. had used 2 of the 3 fouls they still had to give to eat up over 14 seconds before Shelton's 3 pointer, and the Langston Morris-Walker made 1 of 2 free throws to ice the win, putting the Beavers far enough ahead that 1 last 3 pointer by Lacy left the Cougars a point short, disappointing the small but boisterous crowd of 4,167 in Beasley Coliseum.

"This was a win that was earned over the last month," Robinson felt. "These guys have had some tough times, and we almost played only 38 of the 40 minutes again, but finally, there were some key plays made there at the end. The offensive rebound, and Eric's putback was big. Eric's had a rough conference season; it was good to see him have a game like this."

Nelson led Oregon St. with 17 points, but the surprise of the night was Challe Barton, who equaled Moreland's offensive possession, with a career high 11 points, including 3 3 pointers. It was critical given that Devon Collier and Joe Burton were both held to 8 points, and Starks had only 5.

"You don't think you can win a game when Devon goes 2 for 7 and Ahmad is 2 for 9," Robinson said. "It sure was big for Challe to have a game like this, especially on the road. He put us in position to win the game."

"What's important is we got the win," Barton added. "I was scared a little there at the end, Lacy had 27, but I was pleased with how we defended; they made some really tough shots."

Besides Lacy and Motum, only Royce Woolridge was in double digits for Washington St., with 10 points, though overall, the Cougars shot 50% from 3 point range, making 14 of 28, which they had to resort to, unable to penetrate the various Beaver defenses with any regularity all night.

Oregon St. improved to 13-12 for the season, and 3-9 in the Pac-12, keeping pace with Utah, who upset visiting Arizona St. 60-55 tonight. The Beavers and Utes are tied for 10th in the conference, while Washington St. dropped to 11-14, and 2-10 in conference, and into last place alone in the Pac.

"We can enjoy it tonight," Barton said, "but tomorrow we have to get back to work to get ready for Washington. The Huskies are probably the toughest team to play away; their place is a rough place to win at."

The Huskies will be in a foul mood, having lost 65-52 to conference leading Oregon (20-5, 8-3) tonight, ensuring the Ducks of their 3rd consecutive 20 win season in the 3 years Dana Altman has been their coach. Washington (13-12, 5-7) has now lost 3 in a row, and 7 of their last 8 games.

But for a couple of days at least, it will be a better day to be a Beaver again.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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