Washington State doesn’t always make it easy, but on Thursday the Cougars still got it done in a 74-71 win at Oregon.
WSU led most of the game and at one point extended its lead to 11, but the Ducks hung around until the final seconds when a three-quarter-court heave was wide left at the buzzer. The Cougars were led once again by the combination of Issac Bonton and Noah Williams. The duo scored WSU’s final 14 points, including some key free throws in the waning seconds to hold off Oregon.
Bonton finished the game with 23 points while Williams added 14. Williams didn’t have his best shooting night, making just 2-of-10 from the floor, but made 8-of-10 free throws. The Cougars made just two field goals in the final 8:35, both by Bonton, but did just enough at the line.
The Cougs got off to a strong start in the first half, powered by their prowess from deep. WSU hit eight three-pointers in the first half, making 50% from deep in the opening half. That allowed the Cougars to overcome some issues from two-point range where they shot just 4-of-16 in the first half.
Oregon managed to remain within striking distance, trailing 36-31 in the first half with some effective offensive rebounding and by getting to the free throw line.
The Coug’s lead lasted for less than a minute in the second half with Oregon scoring the first five points of the second half. Two minutes into the half, Oregon’s leading scorer Chris Duarte injured his ankle while chasing down a loose ball. He was forced to leave the game and did not return.
Thee second half remained a slugfest. Oregon crashing the offensive glass and the Cougs answering with shooting and some nifty three-point plays.
That was all until Efe showed up
That smash put the Cougs up six points. Abogidi would add two free throws a couple of possessions later to put the Cougs up eight.
The Ducks, however, continued to hang around in large part to the effort on the offensive glass. Oregon’s Eugene Omoruyi and LJ Figueroa combined for double digit offensive rebounds.
Down the stretch, the Cougars turned to their backcourt duo to close out the game. Bonton continued to Bonton things, including running, left-handed, banked layup in the final minutes. Williams and Bonton didn’t make every free throw to close it out, but they made enough!
(We will just skip right over some very questionable defense by the Cougs in the final minute allowing Oregon to maintain the threat)
With the win, WSU improved to 11-7 on the season and 4-7 in Pac-12 play. That is back-to-back road wins for the Cougs after previously losing six straight.
D.J. Rodman was a huge part of the first half surge, making 3-of-4 three-pointers. He got hit in the face, however, and did not play in the final 19:01 of the game.