Jan. 20, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Taylor Rochestie had missed every shot he took when he went to the free throw line with 42 seconds left and No. 8 Washington State leading nemesis Oregon by just one point.
Rochestie sank both free throws and two more 18 seconds later to give Washington State the winning margin in a 69-60 victory that broke a 13-game losing streak to the Ducks. The Cougars also climbed into a share of the Pacific-10 lead with UCLA and Arizona St.
"I just wanted a good chance to redeem myself," Rochestie said. "I was thinking about the players on the team and the coaching staff and the stats on when we play Oregon and haven't beaten them in so many games."
It was a night of redemption for this entire Washington State team, which had broken so many futility streaks in recent years. But no WSU team had beaten Oregon since 2001, perhaps the last major blemish in the rebuilding of the WSU program.
"I just wanted to get one win before I graduate, at least," said WSU's Derrick Low, who scored 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting.
For most of the game, it looked like Oregon (12-6, 3-3) was going to win again. The Ducks bolted to a 17-6 lead, and led 34-30 at halftime. But they shot just 36 percent in the second half, while WSU was making 52 percent.
"I said 'Settle down, get back in the game,"' WSU coach Tony Bennett recalled.
Malik Hairston's two free throws with 2:08 left gave the Ducks their last lead at 59-57.
Low's free throw and Kyle Weaver's layup gave WSU a 60-59 lead with 59 seconds left.
Hairston missed a shot from the top of the key, and Rochestie rebounded and was fouled. His free throws made it 62-59 for WSU with 42 seconds left, and forced Oregon to hurry.
Bryce Taylor missed a layup and Rochestie was fouled again, making both with 24 seconds left, and the Cougars pulled away at the free throw line. They closed with a 12-1 run over the final 1:54.
The loss spoiled a 20-point, 13-rebound effort for Oregon's Maarty Leunen. Hairston finished with 14 points and Tajuan Porter 11.
Washington State (16-1, 4-1 Pac-10), the nation's top defense at 52 points per game, held Oregon 21 points below its season average and to 44 percent shooting.
"Our team has nothing to hang our heads over," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "We may have had a few more turnovers, but other than that we executed perfectly."
"We need to play every team like we played WSU," Kent said.
Earlier in the week, Kent had attributed Oregon's 13-game winning streak over the Cougars in part to luck, saying the Ducks had escaped with some wins.
"We had an amazing win streak," Kent said. "At some point it's going to end."
Weaver had 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Washington State. Aron Baynes had 11 points, and the challenge of guarding Leunen and Hairston for much of the game.
"The big boy worked hard," Bennett said. "He'll rest well tonight."
Low, who started a bit cold, made nine of his last 11 field goal attempts and scored 18 of his points in the second half.
After trailing 34-30 at halftime, Washington State outscored the Ducks 12-7 in the opening minutes of the second half. Weaver's basket gave WSU its first lead of the game at 42-41 with 14:52 left. Oregon replied with a 9-2 run for a 50-44 lead.
But the Ducks suddenly were plagued by turnovers. Low's 3-pointer brought WSU to 52-51, and a pair of free throws by Weaver gave WSU a 53-52 lead with 6:37 left.
Low's layup tied the score at 57 with 4:01 left.
Oregon outrebounded the Cougars 33-23, but also had more turnovers, 15-7. Weaver said the Cougars never got frustrated, even as they trailed.
"We stayed calm throughout the game," Weaver said. "We may get down, but we are never out."
Washington State's 16-1 record is it best start since the 1948-49 team opened 18-1. The crowd of 11,120 was the biggest of the season at home.
"I heard ringing in my ears," Weaver said.