Two three point attempts from Michael Flowers and Efe Abogidi within the final five seconds almost tied the game. But Oregon (17-9, 10-4) survived a flurry of late threes from the Cougar men’s basketball team (14-10, 7-6) to earn a 62-59 Valentines Day win. Oregon missed multiple free throws down the stretch and failed to put the game out of reach as a result; while the Cougars hit several threes inside the final 90 seconds that put the game within striking distance.
Oregon entered the bonus with less than two minutes on the clock, but failed to sink any of the free throws that they got and it kept the game within three possession game; and that’s despite a late three pointer from Will Richardson that made it 62-53 with 60 seconds left on the clock. Flowers then hit three pointers on back-to-back possessions to get us to the final margin. The second of those three pointers had come after forced a turnover and then took it back on the fast break for the open look. On the final possession, Flowers jacked up a three that missed; Abogidi recovered the offensive board before he kicked it out to Flowers. Unfortunately Flowers was covered so he got it to Abogidi and that’s who took the shot at the buzzer…it wasn’t on target and the Ducks held on for the win.
The Ducks had built up their late lead thanks to a stretch were Washington State went 0-11 from the field. It was in the middle of that drought that Oregon went on a 9-2 run to retake the lead. Once shots started fall for the Cougs, thanks to a second-chance dunk by Abogidi and a yuge three from Flowers to cut the lead to one, both sides began to swap buckets again.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the Ducks to string together a 6-0 run to push their lead back to seven (57-50) with 3:55 left on the clock. It was at this point that TJ Bamba made his presence felt for the first time since the 14 minute mark, as he was fouled by Franck Kepnang when he drove the lane on a fast break. Bamba sank both of the free throw to cut into Oregon’s lead. Unfortunately, De’vion Harmon hit a jumper and that got his Ducks’ lead back to seven with 2:45 left. Flowers would hit the second of two free throws and then Richardson would hit the (eventually) game deciding three with a minute left.
Out of the halftime locker room the Cougars drew first blood as DJ Rodman drilled a three pointer to make it 35-32 Oregon. After a pair of defensive stops, Mouhamed Gueye hit a second-chance layup to cut the Ducks lead down to one as the Cougar offense looked the best it had all game. A second-chance dunk by Abogidi gave WSU its first lead since midway through the first half. That lead was pushed to four with a three pointer from Tyrell Roberts that came off of an Oregon turnover. This forced Dana Altman to take a timeout.
That timeout paid off on the offensive end as Harmon drilled a three to make it 39-38; but then he committed a foul on the other end of the court that put Washington State into the bonus. Flowers drilled both of the free throws to push his squads lead out to three. A layup for Bamba made it 43-38 Washington State; but then Harmon answered with a drive into the lane that resulted in an and-one…he sank the free throw to complete the three point play. Young nailed a pull-up jumper to tie it and then the Ducks took the lead back with a dunk from Quincy Guerrier.
Oregon would hold onto the lead until the final buzzer.
Washington State closed out the first half on an 11-5 run that was heavily fueled by the three pointer. Williams and Flowers hit back-to-back threes to cut the deficit to six and kick start the run. It was continued by another Williams three ball in response to a three-pointer from Oregon’ Young. That was followed up with another Oregon bucket, this time a N’faly Dante layup to get the Ducks’ lead back to eight. Flowers finished off the first half scoring with a pretty layup of his own to send both sides into the locker room with WSU down by six, 29-35.
The 11-5 run had cut Oregon’s 12 point lead in half. And that was a lead that the Ducks had built with a 12-2 run of its own. Dante took advantage of three straight Washington State turnovers to push the lead up to 22-16. Williams had scored the only points for the Cougs during that one with a step back jumper off of an Oregon turnover. But the Ducks never really let WSU’s offense get in gear as they kept generating turnovers throughout that run.
Until Oregon had built up its 12 point lead, the first half had been fairly back and forth. The Cougars had scored the first bucket and then the Ducks reeled off six straight points before WSU could get back on the board. Washington State didn’t stay out of it for long though as eventually its offense found a gear, thanks to Gueye and Williams to take a brief 8-6 lead. Harmon drove the lane to tie it back at eight and then Kepnang gave Oregon a two point lead; that it would only build upon before both squads went to the locker room.
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Photo Credit: Oregon men’s basketball