CORVALLIS, Ore. – Washington State blinked first during a defensive standoff with Oregon State, allowing a scoring spurt late in the game that was just enough for the Beavers to escape with a 55-50 victory and their undefeated home record intact.
The Cougars moved the ball and created scoring opportunities against the OSU zone better than in the Beavers’ 62-47 win in Pullman. But they couldn’t capitalize on the open looks, shooting a dismal 4 of 21 on 3-point attempts.
Josh Hawkinson had 16 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 7 for 13 from the field, but the rest of the Cougars made just 12 of 38 shots from the floor.
WSU’s Que Johnson started for the second consecutive game but made just two baskets, a pair of 3-pointers that came in the final minutes. Starting guards Ike Iroegbu and DaVonte Lacy shots just 4 of 11 and 2 of 10 from the field, respectively.
“I felt like if you had an automobile, we were riding on 2 1/2 tires for the most part,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said. “There were ample opportunities to score, make plays. We kept trying to push as many buttons as possible. We just didn’t have enough guys on their game.”
Entering the game WSU (10-12, 4-6 Pac-12) was 5-0 in games decided by five or fewer points and had won both contests that went to overtime.
Neither team did much on offense, but WSU held a tenuous lead for most of the game thanks in large part to a 16-7 advantage in second-chance points, manufacturing offense by outrebounding the Beavers 43-34.
“They’re a slow-paced team and you know they’re not going to push the ball up the court, so we concentrate more people to go attack the offensive boards, which gave us a lot more opportunities,” Hawkinson said.
OSU (15-7, 6-4) has a 13-0 record at home after beating the Cougars, the program’s best home start since the 1979-80 season.
The Beavers had issues, making just 10 of 22 free throws and 3 of 14 3-point attempts.
WSU scored the first eight points of the game. Lacy hit a 3-pointer on the game’s first possession and the Cougars passed inside against OSU’s zone to score or draw fouls. WSU made eight of its first nine free-throw attempts.
But the Beavers responded when Jarmal Reid came off the bench and began to control the Cougars inside, both on post-ups and drives. Reid scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and played 31 minutes.
The Cougars missed all six free-throw attempts in the second half and turned the ball over 12 times to OSU’s five.
“We weren’t’ focused for 40 minutes and to beat a team at home that hasn’t lost, that’s rolling right now, you have to be locked in for 40 minutes and I don’t think we were,” Lacy said. “I think we were for 30, 35, but you can’t be locked in that much and win a game on the road.”
The Cougars effectively guarded the Beavers inside when Jordan Railey was on the floor. Railey, who graduated from Oregon’s Beaverton High, scored six of his seven points in the second half and shot 3 of 4 from the field but played just 21 minutes because of foul trouble, eventually fouling out.
The Beavers did not lead by more than two points until there was just 3:56 left in the game.
Langston Morris-Walker had a quiet seven points, but his 3-pointer to give OSU a 46-44 lead with 4:35 left was a turning point.
Reid made 1 of 2 free throws on Oregon State’s next trip down the floor and the Beavers led the rest of the way.
The Beavers shot just 38.9 percent from the floor but made their final four field goals, including Morris-Walker’s shot, to hold off the Cougars despite Johnson’s 3-pointers. WSU still had a chance down five with 19.5 seconds left, but the Cougars used 12.5 seconds before Lacy drew a nonshooting foul.
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.