Eugene, OR – Oregon returned to action after taking their second COVID-19 break this season, as they faced Washington State. The Ducks have had six of their last seven games postponed and had not played since losing to Oregon State on January 23rd. Will Richardson, Oregon’s starting point guard got his first action of the season coming back from an injured thumb. Eric Williams Jr. was out of action due to COVID-19 protocols. Washington State ended a six-game losing streak after topping Washington on Sunday.
Oregon had their 28-game home winning streak broken in their last loss to Oregon State. They lost their second home game in a row tonight as Washington State escaped with a 74-71 win. Isaac Bonton led the Cougars with a game-high 23 points. Eugene Omoruyi led the Ducks with 21 points.
The Ducks figured to be rusty tonight having played only once since January 9th. That’s what happened as they played a very rough first half, committing ten turnovers and connecting on only 2-of-7 from deep. The Cougars hit their long- distance shots, going 8-of-16 in the half. DJ Rodman, hit three for nine first half points while Bonton connected on two, including a four-point play, as he led the Cougars at the half with 11 points. Omoruyi (11 points) and Chris Duarte (nine points) were the only Oregon players showing anything on offense. Richardson only scored two points at the foul line, while shooting 0-of-4 from the field in 19 minutes of play. The Cougars led 36-31 at the half.
Oregon came out with some energy at the start of the second half, scoring the first five points, the last three on a three-pointer from LJ Figueroa, to tie the game at 36. Then things turned bad for Oregon as Duarte went down after two minutes with what looked like an anke injury. He was taken to the locker room and did not return. The Ducks, already shorthanded with Williams Jr. out, had the go further into their bench as Omoruyi, Chandler Lawson and Franck Kepnang were in foul trouble with four personal fouls midway through the half. The Cougars took a six-point lead at 52-46 after five quick points from 6-7 Andrej Jakimovsky. Dana Altman had no choice but to leave Omoruyi on the floor as he was the main source of offense for Oregon in the game.
A long jumper from Bonton with 2:12 left gave the Cougars a 65-61 lead. Amauri Hardy countered with a layup to cut the lead to two points. Omoruyi missed a three-pointer from the corner with a minute remaining that would have tied the game. After another Bonton basket, Richardson covered on a three-point play to cut the deficit to 68-66 with 26.7 seconds left. Richardson scored on another layup to keep the deficit at two points after Bonton converted on two free throws. Omoruyi finally fouled out with 17 seconds left. The Cougars finished out the win from the foul line. Figueroa missed a half court heave at the buzzer that could have tied the game.
The game was very closely called with 52 total fouls called and wasn’t particularly well-played with 31 total turnovers. Omoruyi and Lawson fouled out for the Ducks with Figueroa, Kepnang and Lok Wur finishing with four fouls. The main difference in the game was three-point shooting with Washington State hitting on 10-of-22 (45 percent) and Oregon only making 5-of-17 (29 percent). Oregon held a 35-24 edge on the boards. Richardson was ineffective in his return for much of the night, finishing with ten points on 2-of-9 shooting (0-of-4 on 3s) and added six rebounds, five assists but committed five turnovers.