Cougs sweep Oregon and get 20th win of season

THE COUGS SAW nearly all of a hard fought lead slip away Saturday in Eugene, as the Ducks closed to within a point late in the second half. But Washington State went inside to Aron Baynes on three straight possessions, twice courtesy of precision passes from Kyle Weaver, and the WSU center scored seven straight. Taylor Rochestie, with a game high 21 points, then closed it out with free throws.

Washington State moved to 20-5 on the year with the 62-53 victory over Oregon -- the second straight season WSU has tallied at least 20 victories. The second road win in three days completed a season sweep of the Oregon schools for the Cougars.

For a while, it looked the Cougs were on the verge of putting this one out of reach midway through the second half, building a double digit lead early on primarily on the shooting of Derrick Low and Rochestie. Low hit three of his first four from behind the arc and scored 11 of Wazzu's first 15 points. He finished with 16 points.

But the Cougs went ice-cold for more than seven minutes in the second half, a 47-39 crimson advantage dwindling to a single point with under four minutes remaining.

Baynes put an end to the dry spell with a jump hook, followed by a three-point play and then a two handed slam. Weaver, who has been bothered by a slow to heal leg injury, had two picture perfect assists to Baynes during the stretch.

Baynes had 12 points on the night, none bigger than the jump hook to seize momentum back from Oregon. The Cougar center did not have a turnover in the game and led WSU in steals with two.

Rochestie went 7-of-8 from the line to close it out over the final minute to help give the Cougs their first win at McArthur Court in 13 tries, a slide that stretched back to 1995. Baynes, wrapping up his furious final run, fittingly pulling down the final rebound off a Duck miss.

Weaver took only seven shots but came up big at various points in the game. He finished with seven points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.

The Ducks shot 49 percent for the game to the Cougars' 40 percent but Washington State allowed Oregon only 39 attempts on the night, a testament to the Cougars' rebounding.

Indeed, key to the win was the rebounding edge and free throws. Robbie Cowgill led the Cougar effort on the glass with nine boards. Weaver added another seven and Baynes chipped in five. For the game, the Cougars outrebounded the Ducks 31-20, with an 11-2 edge on the offensive glass. The Cougars went 13 of 17 from free throw line.

Oregon went 4 of 17 from beyond the arc on the night, all of them by Maarty Leunen who finished with 20 points. He was the only Duck in double figures. Oregon did miss some threes but for the most part, the Cougs' hands were in their faces. OU had hit 32 3-pointers in their last two games coming into the tilt against WSU.

Rochestie capped one heck of a week, with 45 points in the road wins over Oregon State and Oregon. In the post game interview, however, he credited the frontcourt of the Cougars.

"The big men did one hell of a job," Rochestie said.

Nikola Koprivica, who blew out his knee at Oregon last year, saw extended action with 14 minutes in the game and hit on his only attempt of the night.

  • The Cougs' second-straight 20-win season is first time WSU has had back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1940-41 and 1941-42 seasons.

  • The Cougs limited to 53 points an Oregon team that entered the contest as the league's highest scoring team (78.9 points per game coming in).

  • Weaver passed Peter Mullins and Brian Wright for 26th place in the WSU career scoring record books. He now has 1,027 points.

  • In the last two games, Rochestie and Low have accounted for 62 percent (82-of-132) of WSU's points.

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