The Washington State Cougars saved their worst performance for last, shooting 31 percent and committing an astounding 20 turnovers as the Oregon Ducks mercifully ended WSU’s season with a 84-51 decision in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
It was the biggest margin of victory in the history of the Pac-12 tournament. No Cougar finished in double digits in points.
The Cougars, who placed 11th in the conference, finish the year 11-21, having dropped their final six games. Oregon, now 20-12 and making a late push for the NCAA tournament, moves on to the quarterfinals.
The game started ragged, with each side missing a ton of shots. But while the Ducks eventually found their footing, the Cougars never did. The defense that held WSU to a paltry 61 points (0.91 points per possession, fifth worst all season) just one week ago turned the pressure up another notch — the Cougars gave the ball away 12 times in the first 12 minutes while falling behind 18-3.
After five more minutes, they trailed by 21.
After a 14-2 run to start the second half, they trailed by 29.
Seven minutes later, they trailed by 35.
There’s really not much else to say about this one. WSU finished by scoring 0.74 points per possession, which of course was due largely to giving the ball away on 29 percent of their possessions. Both of those were the second-worst all season.
We’re always reluctant to say that the players weren’t trying or that they quit, but after this six-game losing streak — which featured giving up 92 at home to Utah, a 48-point loss to Stanford, a loss to Cal, a loss to OSU in which Robert Franks scored 37, and now two losses to Oregon — it’s hard to make the argument that the team gave everything it had for its embattled coach over the past month. The Cougars certainly didn’t fight very hard on Wednesday.
Robert Franks finishes his career with an eight-point performance on 2 of 9 shooting.
And now ... we wait. Can Pat Chun figure out a financial way to move past this disaster?