USA TODAY Sports
The Cougars blew a big lead, then made plays to stay in the game. In the end, a crucial mental lapse sent WSU to a sixth-straight loss.
After Oregon beat WSU following a curious technical foul with 0.3 seconds left back in 2010, it seemed that the Ducks had found every way possible to beat the Cougs. Tonight, they found another one.
Dexter Kernich-Drew intentionally fouled E.J. Singler in a tie game with 3.8 second left in overtime to give Oregon a 79-77 victory over Washington State on Saturday night. The foul by Kernich-Drew ruined a spectacular night by Royce Woolridge, who just seconds prior had hit a 26-foot three-pointer to knot the game up at 77.
Woolridge played out of his mind, hitting jumpers and driving lane on the way to a career-high 36 points. He hit 6 of 9 from downtown as part a second-straight three-point barrage for WSU.
The Cougars started out hot against the Ducks as Woolridge scored 22 points in the first half. WSU led by as much as 17 at 35-18 before Oregon made up some ground to make it 38-27 at halftime.
It didn't take long for the Ducks to get back in the game, as they pulled within one point by the under-16 timeout. Singler did what he always does against the Cougs, and scored nine points in a row at one point during the comeback. The game was a see-saw battle the rest of the way, as Woolridge caught fire again in the final minutes to keep WSU close.
Oregon looked poised to pull away when it took a four-point lead with just under four minutes to play. Woolridge answered by drawing a foul on a three and knocking down the free throws. Oregon would respond before Woolridge drove for a tough layup to pull the Cougs within one point at the 2:40 mark. That was as close as WSU would get the until their final possession.
After a pair of missed free throws from Oregon, WSU was given a chance to tie the game late as it trailed by three with 15.1 remaining. The Cougs ran a set play out of timeout that left DaVonte Lacy open in the corner for a game-tying three with 8.5 seconds left. WSU would hold after two Oregon shots were off and the contest headed to overtime, where the Ducks would eventually prevail.
Just an absolutely horrible way to lose a game. It's a shame that two improbable plays (consecutive three-point shots to tie a game late) were for naught because of a mental lapse. Cougar fans were celebrating after that deep Woolridge three, and it seemed that maybe luck would be on their side for one night.
It wasn't, and the Cougs have lost six straight.