The Washington State men’s basketball team (9-7, 3-1) put an end to its home struggles against the Oregon Ducks with a 108-99 victory on Thursday night. It was an insane game of basketball that saw both teams shooting extremely well in the first half, and then cool down in the second.
This game came down to the wire in the overtime, but with less than 30 seconds left sophomore Josh Hawkinson made a crucial block with WSU leading 104-99. Oregon then proceeded to foul for the remaining 30 seconds to try to stall defeat. But it didn’t work, as the Cougars hit their last four free throws to pull away from the Ducks and win the ball game.
Overtime started slowly for both teams, as neither side was able to record a field goal in the first minute. In fact, the first four combined points came as the result of free throws. Elign Cook scored the first non-free throw points of overtime with a lay-up, and the Cougars answered with a pair of free throws. The back-and-forth offensive play continued in overtime up until Hawkinson’s block.
Regulation ended tied at 94, but Washington State had a chance to put the game away when point guard Ny Redding got the ball into the hands of senior shooting guard DeVonte Lacy with three seconds left. Lacy drove the bucket, tried to jump over a Duck defender, then was called for a foul as his shot bounced off of the rim and harmlessly to the court.
Oregon had been trailing 94-92 prior to Lacy’s foul, but tied the game up on an easy lay-up by Cook with 29 seconds left in regulation. The Cougar defense lost Cook under the basket, and Oregon made them pay. Losing players was a frequent problem for the Cougar defense during the game; which helped keep the Ducks in it, despite Washington State’s hot shooting during the first half.
Both teams entered the halftime locker room shooting extremely well. WSU had hit 72% of its shots from the field, while Oregon hit 55%, as the Cougars built a 57-52 lead. The Ducks dominated the glass in the first half, as they held a 16-9 edge at the half. Fortunately for the Cougars, they shored up their rebounding issues in the second half.
Oregon was unable to stop Hawkinson all game long. As the sophomore forward scored 26 points and pulled in 13 rebounds during the game, his 10th double-double of the season.
Hawkinson was one of three Cougars with 20 or more points on Thursday night. The other two were Ike Iroegbu (20) and Lacy (24). Forward Brett Boese scored 16 points and was the fourth WSU player in double digits.
With the win, WSU moved into a tie with Arizona for third place in the Pac-12.
The Cougars take on Oregon State at 6 pm Saturday in Beasley Coliseum.