UW is trying to win the conference tournament for the third consecutive year, a feat achieved by only one other league member, Arizona, which won three straight from 1988-90.
GAME: Washington (21-9, 14-4 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (18-13, 7-11 Pac-12). WHEN: Thursday, 12:10 p.m., Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA. MEETING: 291st (Huskies lead 154-136). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV: FSN. RADIO: KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.
The last time the Washington Huskies faced Oregon State, they were coming off one of their more humiliating performances of the season, a 82-57 blowout loss at Oregon in Eugene in which the Huskies were barely competitive.
On Sunday, Feb. 12, the Huskies channeled that embarrassment into a 75-72 win over Oregon State at Corvallis and re-claimed the momentum they would need to win the Pac-12 title outright on the final day (March 4) of the season, when Stanford beat California, a day after UCLA snapped Washington’s winning streak at five, which had started with that 75-72 win over the Beavers.
Since that Feb. 12 contest, Oregon State went on a five-game losing streak, but has now won its past three, and the Huskies and Beavers will meet for a third time this season Thursday in Los Angeles in the second round of the conference tournament.
“I think we are in position athletically, better than in years past, that we can give Washington a pretty good run,” head coach Craig Robinson said after the Beavers ousted the Washington State Cougars 69-64 Wednesday. “But we have to stay with our game plan like we did (against Washington State).”
The Huskies certainly cannot hope for the Pac-12’s leading scorer, Jared Cunningham, to go in the tank Thursday as he did Wednesday, when he scored just four points on 1-for-8 shooting. That Cunningham went MIA and the Beavers still won, elated Robinson.
“For us to win a game with Jared having just a so-so offensive game shows the growth of this team,” said Robinson.
SERIES: Dates to 1904, when Oregon State won 22-19 in Corvallis. The Huskies have won nine of the past 10. Washington’s longest winning streak over Oregon State occurred from 1951-53, when the Huskies won 10 in a row. Oregon State’s longest win streak is 11, from 1978-83. Lorenzo Romar is 15-5 all-time against the Beavers (9-1 in Seattle and 5-4 in Corvallis). OSU coach Craig Robinson is 1-7 all-time against UW. The Huskies have six regular-season series sweeps over the Beavers in 10 years under Romar.
LAST GAME (Washington, March 3): The Huskies squandered an opportunity to win the Pac-12 title outright (they would get it a day later with Stanford’s victory over Cal) by losing to UCLA 75-69. Washington, which led by as many as nine points against the Bruins, had a 60-55 lead in the second half, but scored just nine points in the final 12 minutes as shot after shot clanked. The Huskies, plagued by turnovers down the stretch, made 55 percent of their attempts in the first half, but just 32 percent in the second. C.J. Wilcox led the Huskies with 22 points. Abdul Gaddy had a career-high 12 assists, 10 in the first half.
LAST GAME (Oregon State, March 7): No. 9-seeded Oregon State knocked off No. 8 Washington State 69-64 in the opening round of the four-day, Pac-12 tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Led by Ahmad Starks, who drained four early 3-pointers, the Beavers tore away on a 13-0 run to take a 16-point lead. At that point, Washington State switched to a man-to-man defense and Oregon State lapsed into a deep coma. WSU went on a 24-4 run and teams played it close the rest of the way, Oregon State finally pulling away on free throws in the last two minutes. Devon Collier led Oregon State with 19 points. Jared Cunningham, the Pac-12’s lead scorer, had just four points.
2011-12 WASHINGTON-OREGON STATE RECAPS
Washington 95, Oregon State 80 (Dec. 29, 2011)
AT SEATTLE: Freshman Tony Wroten scored 26 points with nine rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers, powering Washington (7-5, 1-0). Washington controlled early, weathered an Oregon State rally that saw the Beavers cut the lead to 83-80, then raced away. C.J. Wilcox scored 15 points for Washington. Joe Burton led Oregon State with 18. Jared Cunningham, the Pac 12’s leading scorer entering the game, finished with 15 points, two in the second half.
Washington 75, Oregon State 72 (Feb. 12)
AT CORVALLIS: Washington, which entered the game ranked 11th in Pac-12 free throw percentage, made 20 of 28 in the second half (24 of 35 for the game), including eight of 10 in the final minute, to hold off Oregon State. The final-minute free throw flurry included two by freshman Desmond Simmons with 21.5 seconds left to put UW ahead 72-68. Portland native Terrence Ross came up large with 21 points, including five of UW’s final 10, and 13 rebounds. C.J. Wilcox had 17 points off the bench, and Tony Wroten had 12.
UW STATS/NOTES: Washington completed the regular season with an RPI of 60 after its split against the Los Angeles schools (Huskies entered last weekend with an RPI of 52) . . . “Bad loss” to RPI 103 UCLA accounted for the slide . . . Washington struggled against strong competition, with a 3-8 record against the RPI Top 100 that included an 0-5 mark against the RPI Top 50 and an 0-2 record against AP ranked teams.Washington finished second in the Pac-12 in scoring, averaging 74.9 ppg (to Oregon State’s 79.6) and 10th in scoring defense at 69.5 ppg, a differential of +5.4 ppg .
UW finished No. 2 in scoring offense despite ranking No. 8 in field goal percentage (44.6 percent), 11th in free throw percentage (61.8) and 10th in 3-point percentage (34.0) . . . Washington led the conference in rebounding, averaging 40.2 per game, and first in offensive rebounds (14.43) . . . Washington finished third in the league in blocked shots, averaging 3.97 per contest . . . Tony Wroten (16.3) and Terrence Ross (15.3) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the conference scoring race, and Wroten ranked No. 2 in steals (1.97) . . . C.J. Wilcox made 85.7 percent of his free throws, a figure that ranked No. 2 in the conference, Abdul Gaddy (4.3) finished third in assists per game and Aziz N’Diaye ranked No. 3 in rebounds (7.6).
OREGON STATE STATS/NOTES: Oregon State concluded the regular season with an RPI of 152 . . . Oregon State finished as the Pac-12’s highest-scoring team at 79.6 ppg, but also featured the worst defense in the conference, allowing 72.8 ppg . . . Only California (75.1 percent) shot better from the floor than the Beavers (47.1 percent), who ranked only eighth (35.6) in 3-point percentage . . . Oregon State was the second-worst team at defending the 3-point shot, allowing opponents to make 38.3 percent . . . Oregon State blocked more shots than any team in the Pac-12, averaging 4.60 per game, and had more steals per game — 9.30 — than any other team. The Beavers also and finished second in assists at 15.93 per game . . . Jared Cunningham led the conference in scoring, averaging 18.2 ppg and also led in assists (2.57) . . . Devon Collier topped the league in field goal percentage, hitting 60.5 percent of his shots.
Romar, who signed a 10-year contract extension in April 2011, won his his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16, 2011, when the Huskies defeated UC Santa Barbara.
He had his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach when the Huskies 76-63 Jan. 21.
Romar led the Huskies to a 21-9 regular-season record in 2011-12, and was selected the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Romar played for the Huskies under head coach Marv Harshman during the 1979-80 seasons (served as team captain his senior year), and then had a five-year NBA career with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85).
He became a college head coach at Pepperdine in 1997-97, where he coached for three seasons, and then spent three years (1999-02) with the at St. Louis University before taking the Washington job in 2002-03.
Craig Robinson: Robinson is in his fourth year as head coach at Oregon State.
Prior to joining the Beavers, he spent two years as head coach at Brown, leading a revival of the Bears program that he guided to a school-record 19 victories in his final season.
A 1983 graduate of Princeton with a BA in sociology, Robinson is considered one of the top players in Ivy League history.
He ranks fourth on Princeton’s all-time scoring list with 1,441 points and led the Ivy in field goal percentage in 1982 (.577) and 1983 (.642).
Robinson’s first win at Oregon State over a Top 25 opponent occurred last year when the Beavers beat No. 20 Washington.
Robinson worked in the 1990s as a bond trader. He became a vice president at Continental Bank and worked there from 1990 to 1992. He was then a vice president, from 1992 to 1999, at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Later he was a managing director and partner at Loop Capital Markets, a minority-owned boutique investment banking firm.
Robinson grew up in the South Shore community area of Chicago, with his sister Michelle, who was 21 months younger. She is married to President Barak Obama.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: Beavers are a headache team for Washington: Zones, slower pace, hidden scoring pop. But this isn’t the opponent to upset the Huskies here, mainly because of the first-round bye. OSU had a hard game against the Cougars Wednesday.
Leading scorer Cunningham has all kinds of reasons for a bounce-back from a terrible (four-point) first outing, but he had 28 in the first game against Washington and it wasn’t enough. Washington wasn’t happy with the final game against UCLA, nor with the snub of Ross in Player of the Year. The emotional edge is with UW. Washington 76, Oregon State 65.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: Oregon State isn’t as athletic or Washington, but the Beavers have some momentum going, having won three in a row, including Wednesday’s victory over Washington State in the first round.
The Beavers demonstrated one important factor: they don’t necessarily need the Pac-12’s leading scorer, Jared Cunningham, in order to win.
With Cunningham MIA against the Cougars, Devon Collier and Joe Burton stepped, keeping Oregon State alive in tournament.
The Huskies need to find a way to contain Burton, especially. Although the Huskies blew out the Ducks Dec. 29 in Seattle, the second game in Corvallis was close, just three points, and the Huskies needed free throws to win.
I expect a close one here, despite the disparity of the seeds. Washington 72, Oregon State 66.
For the 14th time overall, and for the 10th consecutive year, the Pac-12 will hold a postseason tournament to determine the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The schedule:
|Game #||Time||Seeds / Opponents|
|01||12 p.m.||No. Oregon State 69, No. 8 Washington State 64|
|02||2:30 p.m.||No. 5 UCLA 55, No. 12 Southern California 40|
|03||6 p.m.||No. 7 Stanford (19-10, 9-8) vs. No. 10 ASU (9-20, 6-12)|
|04||8:30 p.m.||No. 6 Colorado (19-11, 11-7) vs. No. 11 Utah (6-25, 3-15)|
|Game #||Time||Seeds / Opponents|
|05||12 p.m.||No. 9 Oregon State (18-13, 7-9) vs. No. 1 Washington (21-9, 14-4)|
|06||2:30 p.m.||UCLA (19-13, 11-7 ) vs. No. 4 Arizona (21-10, 12-6)|
|07||6 p.m.||Game 3 Winner vs. No. 2 California (23-8, 13-5)|
|08||8:30 p.m.||Game 4 Winner vs. No. 3 Oregon (22-8, 13-5)|
|09||6 p.m.||Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner|
|10||8:30 p.m.||Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner|
|11||3 p.m.||Pac-12 Championship|