There's something about the state of Oregon that brings out the best in Taylor Rochestie.
Rochestie scored a career high 30 points, including a perfect 16 for 16 performance from the line, to lead Washington State past Oregon, 74-62. His scoring mark beat his previous high of 24, set last year in a trip to Oregon State.
The Cougars as a team were a perfect 28 for 28 from the free throw line, finishng with a blistering 59.6% free throw rate.
Aron Baynes collected his second straight double-double, with 19 points and 12 boards. Klay Thompson added 15 for the Cougars (11-5, 3-2) who won their third straight conference game, and fourth straight contest over the Ducks (6-12, 0-6).
Offense was at a premium in the first half, as the Cougars jumped out to a 24-17 lead at the break. The second half told a much different story, as WSU outscored Oregon 50-45.
After surrendering the first two buckets of the second half, Klay Thompson's three pointer sparked a 21-7 run that put the Cougars in control for good. And a run that was too much to bear for Oregon coach Ernie Kent, who picked up two technical fouls and was ejected for the first time in his 12-year career in Eugene.
The Ducks showed signs of life after Kent's departure, going on a late 7-0 run to bring the Cougar lead back to ten. The Ducks would never threaten much more than that, thanks to two key threes by Rochestie and torrid free throw shooting down the stretch.
Not to mention a three by Aron Baynes. Yes, that Aron Baynes. The big Aussie fired a desperation trey at the basket with the shot clock expiring and 7:01 remaining. After a lengthy review, Baynes was credited for his first three-point basket of his career.
The Cougars made 18 free throws in the final 3:13 to put away the scrappy Ducks.
Player of the Game: Rochestie. 5 for 13, 16 of 16 FTs, 4 for 7 three-pointers, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover. Dare I say the best line of Rochestie's career?
Play of the Game: Baynes for three. There may be some debate here as I only heard the game on radio from work (Yes, I do other things than obsessively follow the Cougs). Until further notice, I'm going with the Big Fella.
Unsung hero: Aron Baynes. About as underappreciated as you can get for another double-double. The rematch with UW can't come soon enough.
It was over when... Rochestie's three pointer put the Cougs on top 54-42 with 4:03 left.
Key to the game: The Cougs dominated FT rate 59.6% to 38.9%. Sure, most of that occured at the end of the game, but it helped stave off a pretty furious comeback attempt by the Ducks. The Cougars made seven more free throws than Oregon attempted - and, of course, were 100% on their own attempts.
Next up: UCLA, Thursday at 6 p.m. in Pullman