In a game that was virtually over from the tipoff, the No. 13 Oregon Ducks (22-6, 11-4) ran all over the Washington State Cougars (9-19, 1-15), winning 76-62. The Ducks extended their winning streak in Matthew Knight Arena to 24 games, while the Cougars' losing streak now sits at 14 games.
Oregon opened up the game with a 17-3 run that instantly put the Cougars on life support. Washington State was able to battle back and cut the lead down to 22-15 halfway through the opening period, but Chris Boucher and Tyler Dorsey combined to go 5-8 from behind the three-point line and seemingly kill any momentum that the Cougars had gained.
By halftime, the Cougars trailed 42-27 and had coughed up the ball 10 times. Believe it or not, the Cougars actually had a higher field goal percentage than Oregon at half (42.3 to 41.7), but the Ducks had ten more shot attempts than the Cougars due to those turnovers.
Elgin Cook and Boucher led the way for the Ducks scoring 24 and 18 respectively. Boucher also had 13 rebounds to register a double-double. Dillon Brooks added 17 points for Oregon as well. Johnson and Hawkinson led the Cougars on the score sheet as Que Johnson scored 19 points and Josh Hawkinson had 17 himself. Derrien King scored 11 points off the bench. Hawkinson grabbed his 10th rebound towards the end of the game to secure a double-double.
It's apparent that the Cougars are limping their way to the end of the season. With just one conference win and sitting at 10 games under .500, WSU needs to take a long look in the mirror this off season. The Cougars' recipe for success this season has been based on high shooting percentage, something that has been missing during conference play.
Leading scorers Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu have needed to be flawless in their performances this season for this team to have a chance at victory. It's been Que Johnson leading the team on the stat sheet lately, but those performances have yet to be coupled with strong outings from any of the supporting cast.
With seven seniors set to graduate in 2017, Ernie Kent and his staff will need to work some magic on the recruiting front to get Washington State competitive again in the Pac-12. With just two games remaining on the schedule and the Pac-12 tournament, it remains a large threat that the basketball team may not be able to win more games than the football team did all of last year. (Gulp.)
The Cougars will look to snap their 14-game losing streak against Gary Payton II and the Oregon State Beavers this Sunday. With the Beavers and the Washington Huskies as the two remaining opponents on the schedule, plus whoever the Cougars run into at the Pac-12 tournament, Sunday's matchup with Oregon State might be the best chance the Cougars have left this season to win another game.