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Late Husky Comeback Comes Up Short 85-80 in Eugene

The Huskies nearly erased a 20-point deficit in the 2nd half but couldn’t quite get over the hump

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 08 Washington at Oregon Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The last time these two teams squared off, the Huskies were sunk by their 10 missed free throws in a narrow 2-point loss. This time around it was putrid 3-point shooting that doomed the Dawgs as they missed 15 3’s in a row before finally getting a couple to go while almost coming back from a 20-point deficit. Washington got within a single point a few times but ultimately fell 85-80 to drop to 12-11 (4-8) on the season.

Washington got the scoring going as Sahvir Wheeler pulled up for a floater over N’Faly Dante that swished through. Paul Mulcahy gave the Dawgs back the lead after a pair of Oregon buckets by getting open on the wing and knocking down UW’s first 3-point attempt. It would be their last for a while as Washington missed their final 10(!) 3-point attempts of the first half after that.

Still, the Huskies looked in good shape through the first media timeout. An alley-oop from Wheeler to Brooks put the Dawgs up 9-6. Oregon though countered with a 9-0 run as turnover problems started to rear their ugly head. Sahvir Wheeler’s hopeless entry bounce pass inside was deflected and led to an Oregon run out. Paul Mulcahy hacked Jackson Shelstad while in the air with no shot at the ball and was called for a flagrant one and the resulting free throws finished off that run for the Ducks.

Braxton Meah kept things from getting completely out of control. Koren Johnson looked like his pass out of the pick and roll was too far behind Meah but he reached back and slammed it down to bring the Huskies back within 2. A few minutes later Meah had put back dunks off of missed Koren Johnson layups on consecutive possessions and also managed a block in between. But Oregon either found open 3-point shooters against the zone or knocked down midrange jumpers curling off of N’Faly Dante screens. Consecutive midrange shots gave the Ducks their largest lead of the night so far at 31-19 with 7:55 left in the half.

Washington finally stopped turning over the ball and that allowed them to rally. Wilhelm Breidenbach came in and scored 6 quick points. That included a pair of times taking N’Faly Dante off the dribble. On the first one he pump faked at the rim and let Dante fly past him then on the second one sensed Dante’s hesitation and kept going for an easy layup. Koren Johnson dished it to Moses Wood and an Oregon player jumped on him under the basket. He made both foul shots to get UW back close with a 33-29 deficit for a 10-2 UW run.

Oregon immediately found their counterpunch though. Koren Johnson tried to pass to Meah in the pick and roll but he wasn’t ready for it and Oregon hit a transition 3 to open things back up. The basket gave Oregon a 17-4 points off turnovers advantage through 16 minutes.

Washington avoided disaster at the end of the half though. Koren Johnson hit a runner over N’Faly Dante. Oregon had 3 chances to answer with under a minute left in the half but missed all of them. UW looked disorganized going for the final shot and Koren was forced to put up a deep 3 that missed but kept UW in striking distance down 40-34 at the half.

It didn’t take long for things to get out of hand in the second half. Jermaine Cousinard, who led all scorers with 14 in the first half, had a 3-pointer hit the back of the rim, die without bouncing, and roll through the hoop. He made another one while wide open a few minutes later and the Ducks were back out in front by double digits with 14:00 left.

That run continued as Sahvir Wheeler played one-man offense and attempted a scoop shot layup on seemingly every possession, sometimes making it and sometimes turning it over. The Ducks went on a 12-3 run over the next 3.5 minutes and that lead ballooned out to 20 points to turn it into a complete laugher.

Washington turned to their full-court press and actually found some momentum. Keion Brooks stripped an Oregon player on the trap and put it in for a layup. Oregon turned it over again against the press and Koren Johnson got a layup. Washington though couldn’t seem to get it into reasonable striking distance. A few Oregon baskets bumped it right back to an 18-point Oregon lead.

Braxton Meah got a pair of buckets before both teams went scoreless for a few minutes. With 5:40 left and Washington trailing 73-60 finally made their run. Moses Wood ended a streak of 15 straight missed Washington 3-pointers and made a pair of deep shots from the corner as part of a 12-0 Husky run in just 90 seconds of clock to bring Washington within a single point with 3:38 left.

The Huskies fouled Oregon on seemingly every possession but they kept only making 1 of 2 at the line to keep the door ajar for Washington despite Braxton Meah fouling out. With 20 seconds left, Wilhelm Breidenbach got open in the corner for a potential game-tying 3-pointer. He put too much air under it though with 6’11 N’Faly Dante aggressively closing out and it never hit rim. Anthony Holland did knock down a corner 3 on the next Husky possession but after a pair of Duck free throws it was too late and UW never got the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead again.

Braxton Meah despite fouling out was the lone bright spot for Washington. He finished the game with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks on 7/7 shooting while holding N’Faly Dante largely in check for most of the game. Sahvir Wheeler led Washington in scoring with 16 points and 7 assists but had 5 turnovers and too often didn’t involve his teammates as Oregon built out their 20-point lead. Keion Brooks Jr. had the quietest 15 points you’ll ever see and missed all of his 3-point attempts.

Washington has now lost all 3 rivalry games they’ve played against Oregon and Washington State this year and all 3 were within 2 points in the final minute before slipping away.

The Dawgs return to the court on Saturday in Corvallis at 4p on Pac-12 Networks.