“You take away the 17-4 run (17-3) we played them even, we outscored them in the second half on their floor,” Ernie Kent told WSU play-by-play man Matt Chazanow as the Cougs' losing streak reached 14 games, matching WSU's longest losing streak in 13 years.
Washington State shot 44 percent from the floor while the Ducks finished at 42 percent. The Cougs trailed at 15 at halftime, and outscored Oregon 35-34 in the second half. Guard Que Johnson scored 19 points despite fouling out with 8:52 left in the game. He had 14 points in the first half, including 3 3-pointers. Forward Josh Hawkinson added 17 points and 10 rebounds, his 19th double-double this season.
"Moral victories? No. We battled them on their floor, a team of that caliber with our team coming back. We know where we’re going. We did a good job in the game, but we didn’t close the game out," said Kent.
Guard Viont'e Daniels got his second-straight start, scoring 3 points in 22 minutes. Another true freshman, forward Derrien King had one of his better shooting games, hitting 4 of 7 including 3 of 4 from downtown to finish with 11 points in 25 minutes.
"I'm proud of the way Viont'e Daniels played, a freshman in this environment... Derrien King played well, Charles Callison played well in the game, too. Que Johnson had a tremendous game, and we needed him on the floor down the stretch," said Kent.
Oregon pressed and trapped WSU in the backcourt much of the game and with an exception or two, the Cougs didn’t handle it well.
“We gave up 23 points off our (13) turnovers… we gave up 15 points on second-chance points. We turn it over, we don’t block out and then we foul too much, we gave them 17 free throws – that’s a lot of points in there,” said Kent.
Guard Ike Iroegbu took only four shots in 21 minutes, something Kent attributed to WSU slowing things down.
"He's got to settle down and have a little more poise," said Kent. "He's much better in a fast-paced, up-tempo game. But teams are going to press us.. and force you to play in the half court. He's gotta slow down and understand that side of it. With Charles coming back.. we can run more things for him... give him an opportunity not to play point guard but more of a shooting guard, scoring guard."
NEXT UP: WSU plays at Oregon State on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks).
--Callison returned to the lineup after missing four games due to a concussion. He finished with 4 points on 2 of 8 shooting with 4 assists and 1 turnover in 29 minutes.
--Hawkinson is one double-double shy of WSU's single-season record he set last year.
--Johnson is averaging 17.6 points his last five games. His season average is 11.1 ppg.
--WSU's14-game losing streak matches the longest in Ernie Kent's 21 seasons as a college head coach at three schools. Oregon lost 14 straight on its way to an 8-23 finish in 2008-09 in kent's second-to-last season in Eugene.