Oregon and Washington State met for second place in the Pac-12 Conference on Saturday. Both teams shot even in the opening five minutes of the game with the score tied at 8.
The game remained close for several minutes, but WSU started to find some rhythm before the half extending their lead to 6 with just over three minutes left in the opening 20 minutes of play.
N’Faly Dante punctuated the Ducks' final shot of the first half with a dunk pulling Oregon within two. Washington State led 29-27 at the half.
Oregon came out in the second half ready to go, forcing Washington State into two key turnovers that led to points for the Ducks.
WSU would hit three straight field goals extending their lead while the Ducks went cold for three minutes and multiple possessions before Jermaine Couisnard hit a field goal with a foul shot.
Similar to the game against Arizona where shots were at a premium and the Ducks struggled to get within double digits, against Washington State it was a five-point game for the final ten minutes of the second half.
The Ducks needed to find some momentum and did. Oregon went on a 6-0 run to pull within three points of the lead but the Cougars were in control, having the lead for over 25 minutes of the game. The lack of free throws and made free throws was a difference maker in the game.
Jermaine Couisnard has been a difference-maker this season for the Ducks and went down hard with an injury with two minutes left on the clock.
Oregon tried and missed back-to-back shots before Couisnard came back into the lineup to hit a three-pointer pulling the Ducks within two points with 46 second left.
Oregon's shooting over the last five minutes was 1 for 8 and 0 for the final four shots of the game. The foul line was not their friend against Washington State as the Ducks hit 57 percent of their free throws. From three-point range, they hit just 22 percent of their shots vs the Cougars.
In the end, it was a tough 62-56 loss for the Ducks. For being a bubble team at this point in the season, losses mean more than wins and the loss to WSU may have burst the bubble.
N’Faly Dante showed he is progressing well in his return to from finishing with a double-double in 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Oregon travels to Oregon State to take on the Beavers for the final time at Gill Coliseum as a member of the Pac-12 next Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network.