Washington State started out the scoring with a DaVonte Lacy three and lept out to a 8-1 lead with OSU unable to score, primarily due to a lack of offense. Credit to the Cougars, they came out hot and were playing solid defense. That led Oregon State into poor situations where they would jack up contested jumpers or dribble into traffic. The game continued on in similar fashion, where the Beavers could not muster anything on offense. Another factor was early foul trouble for Gomis and most importantly Gary Payton II was forced to the bench which certainly hindered the ability of Oregon State to run their offense
Defensively the Beavers were holding there own though, often with crisp rotations but the real problem came when the rotation ended up with a Wazzu big man (namely Josh Hawkinson) against a Beaver guard. They converted on all of those good matchups and advanced to a 21-12 with 8 minutes left in the 1st half, the largest lead of the game. OSU tightened the clamps though and that turned up the offense.
It started with a Malcolm Duvivier And-1, above, at DaVonte Lacy's expense, and after two Hawkinson free throws Schaftenaar add an And-1 of his own bring the score to 23-18. The Beavers added a couple more baskets to tie it up and from there the teams traded baskets bringing to a 32-30 Wazzu lead at halftime.
An early highlight for OSU however was the scoring of Jarmal Reid, above, who put up 9 of the Beavers 30 points at the half. This would be an ongoing story of the game.
When the teams came back out of the locker room it turned into a slugfest with only 16 collective points scored in the first ten minutes of the half. The referees were letting both teams play and it got physical with both teams throwing their bodies around. Free throw shooting was a part of the lack of scoring as well as WSU missed their first 6 free throws of the half. From there it turned into another battle, both teams trading punches, and on one Gomis shot an elbow. The game came to a tie at 40-40 and a Gomis free throw pushed the score to 41-42. Another Reid basket gave the Beavs the lead after that.
The Cougars answered after missing a three with a Hawkinson basket and he had a productive using his size against the posts of Oregon State. Both teams traded defensive stops from there and the announcers actively wondered what had happened to Langston Morris-Walker and he responded by bricking a three. After another stop LMW had his answer with a huge three.
That gave OSU a two point lead at 46-44.
Then, at the under 4 minute media timeout, Benny broke out the chainsaw to fire up the crowd of just over 5,500. Indoors.
The Beavers loosened up after that, and went on to open a 7 point lead, their largest of the night, while the Cougs looked a little tight. Wazzu started to press and force shots against the OSU 2-3 zone defense. In the meantime Jarmal Reid became the focus of the offense and looked terrific. He was creating contact and swishing jumpers, looking confident and aggressive. When the game came down to free throws (where he struggled for most of the game) and stepped up to hit a pair in the clutch. After his critical free throws the stifling Beaver zone stalled out the Cougs until the end which was capped with a block at the buzzer of Hawkinson, leaving the final score 55-50 Beavers.
Jarmal Reid was the star of the game for the Beavers with a career high 20 points on 8-12 shooting with 4-8 from the charity stripe. The second highest scorer on the night was Malcolm Duvivier with 15 but that was done on 17 shots although he did lead OSU with 4 assists and 2 turnovers. Reid was the star tonight though, scoring efficiently and from a number of ways. He slashed, he worked in the post, he hit open jumpers, and most importantly it all looked natural. It was an impressive game and for a team bereft of go-to scorers he really came through when the team needed a bucket.
Hawkinson finished with 16 points and 10 points to lead Washington St. in both categories, but Ike Orogebu was the only other Cougar in double digits, with 11 points. Notably, Lacy, the Cougs' leading scorer, was held to only 2 point after the game opening 3 pointer.
Free throws were an issue for both teams, the Cougars made a paltry 50% and OSU made a somehow worse 45.5%. That was an especially grisly portion of the game. The field goal percentage was not much better with Wazzu at 37.3% and OSU at 38.9%. Defense was the main factor for that though, as both teams played pretty well on that end although they did not play very well on offense.
Fouls were a factor, as both Jordan Railey and Junior Longrus fouled out for the Cougs, whereas the Beavers, despite turning up the defensive pressure in the second half, still had 2 fouls to use in the final 4 minutes of the game.
Turnovers played a large part as well, where OSU won that battle 12-5. Wazzu won in rebounds and assists but the turnovers and the one man show of Reid countered those advantages.
Payton was held to only 6 points, but pulled down a game high 11 rebounds.
This ended up being a defensive battle which suited the strengths of Oregon State who wanted a slower battle. This brings OSU to an improbable 13-0 at home, 15-7 overall, and to 6-4 in the Pac. That is a 4-way tie for 3rd in the conference with Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA. The Beavers will play UW on Sunday at 1:30 to protect their undefeated home record. Washington St. slipped to 10-12, and 4-6 in conference.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)