PULLMAN – Washington State’s postseason basketball hopes may have bled out all over Friel Court on Saturday.
If they did, it was a death caused by a hundred back cuts.
Oregon State ran its Princeton-style offense to near perfection in the second half, overcoming WSU’s 12-point halftime lead and slipping out of Beasley Coliseum with a 54-52 win before a stunned 7,452.
“Our defense broke down,” WSU coach Tony Bennett said. “We try to really work hard and pride ourselves on taking away the lane and absorbing back cuts and not letting guys get all the way to the rim. That really wasn’t present.”
“We’re a defensive team,” senior Taylor Rochestie said. “We think we’re a defensive team. To come out and give up the points that we gave up, (34) points (in the second half) and to only score 20 points.
“When you give them layups and you struggle to get shots, you’re going to lose the game.”
The Beavers, who snapped a five-game losing streak to WSU, have bought into first-year coach Craig Robinson’s strategy. They spread the court, cut hard to the hoop and try to get the defense on its heels.
For 20 minutes, they failed.
The Cougars (13-12, 5-8) stifled all but one OSU first-half cut – a Rickey Claitt reverse layup with 1 minute, 50 seconds left to intermission.
WSU’s aggressiveness on the defensive end led to the same on the offensive end. The Cougars, behind Klay Thompson’s 10 points, hit 13 of 23 shots and took a 32-20 lead into the locker room.
Where they left their intensity.
Roeland Schaftenaar, who missed all six of his first-half shots, hit two quick buckets and Oregon State (11-13, 5-8) got rolling. But, after the Beavers got within 34-29, WSU seemed to wrest control with two buckets – including a 3-pointer – by Thompson, who finished with a game-high 20, and another long-range jumper by Taylor Rochestie.
That put WSU up 42-31 with 14:39 left.
Over the next 9:29, the Cougars scored a single point, on DeAngelo Casto’s free throw at the 6:40 mark.
They missed 11 shots, including four in a row by Rochestie and two close-in attempts by Aron Baynes.
Oregon State back cut its way to 18 points, 12 of those by leading scorer Calvin Haynes, a 6-foot-2 guard who comes off the bench.
Haynes had three back cuts as well, but it was Claitt’s with 4 minutes left that really hurt. It put OSU up 52-45. That seven-point lead held up despite a NBA-depth 3-pointer by Thompson with 1:30 left that cut the lead to two.
Although WSU got a stop when Seth Tarver missed a jumper, Rochestie, who finished 2 of 11 from the floor – he was 0 for 1 in WSU’s productive first half – with five points, four turnovers and four assists, couldn’t convert a runner with 9 seconds left and Schaftenaar, a 63 percent free-throw shooter, hit two to clinch it.
“I played a horrible game,” said Rochestie, who came in averaging 12.8. “I turned the ball over, couldn’t make a shot. When you have a senior point guard, playing the way I did today, you’re not going to win. It’s as simple as that.”
But he wasn’t the only one.
Baynes, playing just 26 minutes because, according to Bennett, he struggled on defense, also had just five points, 7.4 less than his average.
As the game slipped away, the Cougars also knew their postseason hopes were slipping with it.
Oregon St. 54, Washington St. 52
Percentages: FG .447, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 6-14, .429 (Haynes 3-6, Claitt 2-2, Deane 1-1, Schaftenaar 0-2, J.Tarver 0-1, McShane 0-1, Wallace 0-1). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 2 (Schaftenaar, J.Tarver). Turnovers: 4 (Schaftenaar 2, McShane, Deane). Steals: 6 (S.Tarver 2, Schaftenaar, J.Tarver, Claitt, Deane). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .447, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Thompson 4-9, Rochestie 1-5, Harmeling 1-2, Capers 0-1). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 6 (Casto 2, Forrest, Baynes, Thompson, Capers). Turnovers: 9 (Rochestie 4, Baynes 2, Thompson, Koprivica). Steals: 3 (Forrest 2, Thompson). Technical Fouls: None.
Halftime–Washington State 32, Oregon State 20. A–7,452.
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