Oregon State got over a big hump on Wednesday.
After five gut-wrenching Pac-12 losses by eight or fewer points, the Beavers finally came out ahead in a close call with a 67-66 men’s basketball win at Washington State.
A close call it was.
The Beavers had to survive a barrage of 3-pointers from the Cougars. WSU hit 10 in the second half and six in the final 5 minutes, 14 seconds.
A lead that had gone to 15 early in the second half evaporated quickly.
“What’s important is we got a win,” guard Challe Barton said. “I was scared a little bit there toward the end, they were making all kinds of 3s.”
DaVonte Lacy knocked down seven 3s and finished with 27 points.
Lacy hit two 3s in the final moments but his last one was at the buzzer with the Beavers leading by four.
“When people like him play a game like that, it can be hard sometimes down the stretch,” Barton said. “But I’m just happy for the whole team that we were able to come up with a win.”
Although the Beavers lost most of their lead, they were able to come up with clutch plays to finish the game.
The biggest might have been Roberto Nelson’s score off a rebound of Ahmad Starks’ miss with 37 seconds left. Even though Nelson missed a chance to make it a four-point lead when his free throw bounced off, the Cougars never recovered.
Making the late plays was an aspect missing in OSU’s losses.
“I thought we were a just a tiny bit hesitant, but we have been through this enough where we were able to gather ourselves right there at the end and make that play down here that made it hard for them,” coach Craig Robinson said. “That offensive rebound (by Nelson) was just unbelievable. Three games ago we wouldn’t make that play. Shoot, one game ago we wouldn’t.”
Now the Beavers are looking for a sweep in Washington and, for the first time in a decade, a season sweep of University of Washington.
Tip is tonight at 8.
The Huskies have struggled since a 4-0 start in the Pac-12. They’re 1-7 in the last eight and coming off a 65-52 loss to Oregon.
UW is ninth in the conference in scoring offense and 10th in scoring defense.
With the exception of a 96-92 win over Arizona State, the Huskies have really not gotten their offense on track in the Pac-12 season. They averaged a tad fewer than 65 points a game in their four-game win streak but held opponents to an average of 56.
In the last eight games, the Huskies are giving up an average of nearly 72 points while their offense improved by about a point a game.
The Beavers will try to keep UW at bay with a mix of defenses, but most likely will throw a big dose of the 1-3-1 at the Huskies to see how they react.
The Beavers have had good results from the zone in recent games and it played a big part in building the 15-point lead against the Cougars.
It threw the Cougars for a loop and they had six turnovers to start the second half.
“(It) might have been one of the best examples of our 1-3-1 since I’ve been here,” Robinson said.