Oregon St. (11-7, 3-3) at Washington (12-8, 4-3) / Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA / 2 PM / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
The Beavers' win against the Cougars marked the first time Oregon St. has won in Pullman for 2 years in a row since 1989 & 1990, Gary Payton's last 2 years for OSU. The Beavers have now won 2 games in a row, and 3 of their last 4, and as a result, their record is as good as its been at the 18 game mark since 1990.
Roberto Nelson, the Pac-12's leading scorer, had his usual game high scoring, this time 26 points, on 60% shooting (6 of 10 from the floor, and 3 of 5 on 3 pointers), and 11 of 15 at the line.
But the big spark came from Angus Brandt, especially early on in the game. Brandt had his best road game of the season, with 14 points. It was the first time he was in double figures away from Gill Coliseum this season.
The Huskies won a back and forth affair Thursday night, beating Oregon 80-76 to hand the Ducks their 5th consecutive loss, after 13 ties and 9 lead changes in a game where the largest lead by either team was 7 points. C.J. Wilcox, Washington's season leading scorer with an average just a tick shy of 20 points per game, led the way and improved his average, with a game high 23 points, including the 3 pointer with 44 seconds left that put the Ducks into must foul mode.
Wilcox knocked down 7 of 11 shots, and more impressively, 5 of 6 3 pointers. Keeping track of Wilcox and not allowing him lightly contested looks will be the most important order of business for the Beavers.
Portland native Andrew Andrews, the Huskies' second leading scorer, exceeded his 12.8 points per game average with 17 points, including 8 of 10 at the free throw line. But an important spark came from senior forward Perris Blackwell, who had 15 points, and is Washington's leading rebounder, averaging 6.6 pergame.
Blackwell is the Husky Beaver fans might not be aware of, having sat out last year, after transferring from San Francisco, where he played 3 years for the Dons.
Last year, Oregon St. and Washington split their season series, with both teams winning at home. The Beavers prevailed 74-66 at Gill, holding on after opening a 20 point first half lead in a late night affair. The Huskies took a similar scored 72-62 win at the former Hec Edmundson Pavillion, now branded as Alaska Airlines Arena, in the rematch, which was never a double digit margin game until Andrews hit a pair of free throws for the final points in the game.
Despite what a glance at points per game for the season might suggest, where Oregon St. holds a 1.2 point per game edge, it is Washington that will look to push the pace in this one, and probably play comparatively less defense than what Beavers coach Craig Robinson would at least like to try to do.
It's a key contest for Oregon St., as a win could push the Beavers into the top 5 in the conference race, whereas a loss will leave them outside the top 8. The Pac-12 is that tight in the middle of the pack.