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Feb 9, 2024 6:50 pm

Washington State, Oregon battle for second place in Pac-12

jaylen wells

Saturday afternoon’s Pac-12 game between Washington State and host Oregon has important implications for both teams.

The winner breaks a tie for second place in the conference, as the teams trail only No. 8 Arizona in the standings. The Ducks (16-7, 8-4 Pac-12) enter the game with the tiebreaker edge over the Cougars (17-6, 8-4) having defeated Washington State 89-84 in Pullman, Wash., earlier this season.

Saturday’s game is in Eugene, Ore., where the Ducks are 11-1 this season.

Washington State has won four straight games and is coming off a 64-58 road win over Oregon State on Thursday.

In that game, Jaylen Wells made six consecutive 3-pointers and scored a career-high 24 points. Head coach Kyle Smith won his 250th career game.

“Great win for this team,” Smith said. “In a short period of time, they’ve come together, they like each other. Everyone talks about culture … these guys, they have a lot of love for each other.”

Washington State’s top scorer and rebounder is Isaac Jones (15.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg). The Cougars are 15-0 when leading at halftime this season.

The Ducks had to fight off a big comeback attempt from Washington on Thursday to post an 85-80 victory. Oregon led by 20 points in the second half, only to see the Huskies rally to as close as one point down.

Washington’s full-court pressure on defense bothered the Ducks and fueled the rally, but Oregon did enough in the final minutes to win.

Oregon’s leading scorer this season, Jermaine Couisnard, supplied 27 points, including four free throws in the last 19 seconds.

Kwame Evans Jr. finished with 15 points and N’Faly Dante had 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

“We did what we had to do to win the game, which is really important,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said following the game. “But I’ve been harping on our mistakes, which we’re making too late in the season. For Feb. 8, we should be able to handle the press a lot better than that.”

–Field Level Media

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