Cougs stymied by Oregon's 3-point prowess

WASHINGTON STATE COACH Ken Bone's best teams have been known for their ability to hit 3-pointers. But the Cougars' 2011-12 season might be best remembered for their in ability to stop opponents from beyond the arc. That was reinforced again Saturday as WSU missed an opportunity for its first conference road sweep since January 2009 with a 78-69 loss against Oregon at Knight Arena.

"We wanted to get that sweep," WSU junior guard Reggie Moore said during a postgame radio interview. "We thought we could do it."

And they almost did.

The Cougars (13-12 overall, 5-8 Pac-12) entered the game eighth in the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage at 34.7 percent. Even holding the Ducks (18-7, 9-4) would have resulted in a win.

Instead, Oregon shot 11 of 20 from beyond the arc.

No one hurt WSU more than forward E.J. Singler, who had a game-high 23 points. Singler started perhaps the most significant sequence in the game with about eight minutes left.

After Moore gave the Cougars a 57-56 lead on a jumper, Oregon center Tony Woods was fouled. Woods missed both free throws, but WSU failed to seal out and Singler scored on a tip-in. That started an 8-1 Ducks' run as guards Garrett Sim and Devoe Joseph followed with 3-pointers to extend Oregon's lead to 64-58.

"(Singler) wills their way to wins," said Bone, who now is 1-6 against the Ducks as WSU's coach. "When you look back on it, that turned momentum. From that point on, they did a good job."

The Cougars' best opportunity came with about a minute left when senior forward Abe Lodwick hit a 3-pointer to cut the Ducks' deficit to 72-67. Moore, who had 12 points and six assists, then stole the ball from Sim on the ensuing possession and found freshman guard DaVonté Lacy for an open 3-pointer. But it rolled off and WSU was forced to foul. Oregon made all six of its free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

CLOSING OUT BOTH halves was a struggle for the Cougars. The Ducks closed the first half with a 16-7 run to take a 36-33 advantage into the intermission.

But junior center Brock Motum, who finished with 17 points, scored WSU's first six points of the second half. Lodwick later hit a 3-pointer to give the Cougars their first lead of the second half, 53-50.

In addition to Motum, junior guard Mike Ladd tied his season-high with 13 points, while Moore added 12. WSU shot 50 percent from the field.

Other than allowing the Ducks to shoot 55 percent from the field, Bone said he was pretty happy with how his team played. Both teams finished with 25 rebounds.

"Even though we got beat today, I felt like we got better," he said. "We did a good job of handling the ball. We held our own on the boards."

The Cougars, who defeated Oregon State 83-73 on Thursday, begin a three-game homestand at 6 p.m. Thursday versus Arizona.


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