GAME NOTES: The Washington Huskies go in search of a much-needed victory in their final Pac-12 Conference road test of the season, as they take on the Oregon State Beavers at Gill Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
Washington has been stuck in reverse the last few weeks, suffering setbacks in five of its last six games. The downward spiral has dropped the Huskies to 14-13 overall and 6-8 in league play. However, they will have three more opportunities at home, beginning against in-state rival Washington State, following this bout.
Oregon State put an end to a three-game losing streak on Thursday night by posting a 68-57 victory over Washington State. The Beavers have been only marginally better in terms of wins and losses than the Huskies, with an overall record of 14-11, which includes a 6-7 mark against the rest of the Pac-12. They will head to Los Angeles for two straight contests next week, taking on both USC and 23rd-ranked UCLA.
With an 87-81 decision at home on Jan. 25, Washington earned its second straight win over Oregon State and improved its lead in the all-time series to 156-138.
The Huskies had an extra day to recover for this matchup, as its 78-71 loss to Oregon came on Wednesday night. Washington allowed the Ducks to sink 56.9 percent from the floor in the game, while shooting at a 43.6 percent clip itself. Perris Blackwell finished with 17 points as the Huskies' leading scorer.
Washington has been plagued by inconsistent shooting this season, as the team is converting only 44 percent from the field, which is the second-worst mark in the conference. C.J. Wilcox (18.4 ppg) is the team's go-to scorer, helping power the unit to an average of 74.1 ppg. However, Wilcox, who is fifth in the conference in scoring, had only nine points on 2-of-8 shooting against Oregon. It was the third time in the last four games he failed to reach double figures. If Wilcox is limited, Nigel Williams-Goss (13.3 ppg, 3.9 apg), Andrew Andrews (12 ppg) and Blackwell (10.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are the next best options.
Oregon State bullied its way to a win over Washington State, outscoring the Cougars in the paint (32-16) and off turnovers (15-4). Those scoring margins made up for the fact that the Beavers were narrowly outshot, 42.9 percent to 41.7 percent. Angus Brandt tallied 16 points to pace the victors.
While Washington has struggled with offensive efficiency, Oregon State has largely excelled in that area. The Beavers rank third in the Pac-12 and 19th nationally in field goal percentage (.482), although they are only scoring a few points more per game (76.2) than Washington. Roberto Nelson (20.9 ppg, 3.6 apg) has been a man possessed this season, as he leads the conference in scoring. However, Nelson had only 12 points on a dreadful 1-of-9 shooting effort against Washington State. Collier (13.7 ppg) and Brandt (12.7 ppg) picked up the slack, with the former adding 14 points and the latter 16.
A few weeks ago this game would have featured an intriguing duel between two of the top scorers in the Pac-12. However, Wilcox seems to have hit a cold spell, and turning it around on the road will be difficult.
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