WSU took another step towards infamy on Sunday when the Cougars lost their 15th consecutive game, this time to Oregon State by a score of 69-49. It now matches the 15-game slide in the 1999-2000 season.
Perhaps more disturbing than the mounting losses is the manner in which they are occurring. Once again, WSU was utterly uncompetitive; after briefly holding a lead for the first couple of minutes, the Cougars were quickly down by double digits just six minutes into the game.
As we feared, WSU was unable to make much headway on the offensive end against the Beavers, who are trying to ensure they're on the right side of the bubble on Selection Sunday.
It also didn't hurt that the Beavers were playing with senior day emotion, which they turned into six steals in the first half alone to stifle the Cougs -- who had nine total turnovers in the opening frame -- into just 0.76 points per possession. Que Johnson, who has been so good recently, was particularly poor: He scored just 5 points on 2-of-6 shooting with three turnovers as the Cougars trailed by 10 at the half after falling behind by as many as 16.
A Charles Callison 3-pointer pulled WSU to within seven points right out of the break, but OSU promptly went on an 8-0 run behind a couple of 3s by Olaf Schaftenaar to erase any ideas the Cougars might have had about a comeback. The run would eventually extend to 18-2, WSU would trail by 23 points, and the game was over with 12:36 to play.
Gary Payton II once again led the way for a balanced OSU attack, scoring 13 points and adding 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Tres Tinkle and Drew Eubanks each also had 13 points, Schaftenaar finished with 11.
The Cougars were "led" by Josh Hawkinson's 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He also contributed 9 rebounds. Callison finished with 13 as the Cougars' only other double-digit scorer. Ike Iroegbu had another rough game, scoring just 5 points (although he did contribute 7 assists). It was the sixth consecutive game in which he failed to crack double digits in points.
The Cougars will have two more opportunities to end the streak. First up on Wednesday: The Washington Huskies, who absolutely have to have a victory to keep whatever flagging hopes they have of an NCAA tournament berth.