Oregon traveled to the Palouse to close out the regular season this afternoon and endured a barrage of three-pointers from Washington State in a game that got away from the Ducks near the end of the first half. The Cougars shot 47 percent from beyond the arc for the game, making 16 three-point shots. Oregon was without Will Richardson who was a late scratch with a head injury sustained against USC last week. The short-handed Ducks could not hang with the hot-shooting Cougars, ultimately losing 94 - 74. This was the most points Oregon had given up this season, and the victory gave Washington State its first winning Pac-12 season in 14 years.
Oregon had one lead in the game at 1 - 0 on an opening minute free throw by N’Faly Dante. Oregon also tied the game at 4 - 4 on a Franck Kepnang hook shot at 16:47. The remainder of the first half was a rain of Cougar three-point shots, and Oregon struggling to put together an offensive run. The Cougars broke that deadlock with 7 straight points to go up 11 - 4 at 15:00. Oregon managed to then close to 11 - 9 on a Jacob Young drive and an Eric Williams, Jr. three. A Kepnang dunk and a Williams basket inside got Oregon to 16 - 13 but another Cougar three - they were shooting 57 percent from beyond the arc at this point - made it 21 - 13 with 11:09 left in the half. De’Vion Harmon scored in the lane, and the Cougars hit another three to make it 24 - 15 WSU at 10:38, and the teams then took turns missing shots on eight straight combined possessions. Oregon then outscored the Cougars 6 - 3, including making 4 free throws to cut the lead to just four at 27 - 23 at 6:43. Oregon continued to hang around and trailed by only six after a Kepnang basket inside with 4:46 left in the half. Washington State opened up a 9-point lead after missing a three, rebounding the miss, and hitting a three with 2:19 left. The game started to get away from Oregon at this point, as the Cougars outscored Oregon 7 - 2 over the remainder of the half on a dunk, a put-back of a miss, and another three-pointer. This left the halftime score Washington State 46, Oregon 32.
Kepnang led the Ducks in the half with 8 points, Young had 7 and Williams, Jr. 5 off the Oregon bench. Soares had 3 rebounds and 3 Ducks had 1 assist. Oregon shot a decent 44 percent from the floor but was only 1 - 6 on 3-pointers.
The stat of the half, and the deciding factor in the halftime score, was Washington State’s 3-point shooting. The Cougars went 9 - 19 and outscored Oregon by 24 points from beyond the arc. Oregon’s only offensive advantage was in making 8 more free throws than the Cougars.
The hope for Oregon in the second half, perhaps, lay in Washington State reverting to its mean on 3-point shooting. The Cougars have been shooting about 33 percent from beyond the arc this season, and to reach that mark in this game would require a lot of misses in the second half. Unfortunately, the trey barrage was not to slow down - WSU hit their first three of the half at 18:37 after a Harmon bucket and an Oregon free throw and then hit another 40 seconds later to lead 52 - 35. The WSU lead would reach 19 with 16:08 left and another Cougar three at 13:19 would push it over 20 for the first time. Oregon managed a couple of mini-runs that pushed the lead under 20 when Young scored 5 points and Williams had a bucket inside to make it 65 - 46 at 11:14. A Kepnang dunk and Oregon layup on a fast break made it 71 - 52 with 9:34 left, but in neither case could the Ducks make the kind of sustained effort on both ends of the floor that might have cut seriously into the lead and put some doubt into the Cougar’s minds. Washington State began to coast a bit, missing some threes finally, but making up for it with some inside play, run-outs on Oregon misses and baskets off offensive rebounds. The lead was still 18 at 86 - 68 with 3:04 left but Oregon missed four straight shots and the Cougars added insult to injury when the last guy off the bench hit a three with 59 seconds to play to give WSU 94 points on the afternoon. The final score was Washington State 94, Oregon 74.
For the game, Jacob Young was very good on the afternoon, and led Oregon with 21 points on 7 - 12 shooting from the floor and 6 - 8 from the charity stripe. Franck Kepnang and Eric Williams, Jr. each added 11 points. Rivaldo Soares grabbed 5 rebounds off the bench and 3 others had 4. Young also had 4 assists. Oregon shot 48 percent from the floor and improved to 33 percent on 3-pointers by hitting 50 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. Washington State finished 16 - 34 on 3-point shots.
Oregon simply did not have more than a couple of productive offensive possessions in a row in this game, nor could they stop the Cougars repeatedly while also scoring. The Ducks had 11 turnovers, one more than their season average.
Oregon now enters the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas with its seed yet to be determined. Stay with ATQ for coverage of that journey, as Oregon tries to pull the upsets necessary, win the Pac-12 tournament and qualify for the Big Dance.