GAME NOTES: Alaska Airlines Arena in the Emerald City is the site of Saturday's Pac-12 Conference clash between the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington Huskies.
Oregon State has begun to pick up some steam in conference play, with wins in three of its last four contests. The Beavers have evened their league ledger (3-3) during the run and improved to 11-7 overall. They will host Los Angeles area foes USC and UCLA in their next two bouts.
Washington halted a two-game slide by pulling out an 80-76 win at home over Oregon on Thursday. The Huskies, who are 10-2 at home this season, improved to 4-3 in conference play and to 12-8 overall following the win. They begin a three-game road trip next Saturday against in-state rival Washington State.
These squads met twice last season, with the home team winning each time. Washington has won three of the last five meetings, however, to take a 155-138 lead in the all-time series.
The Beavers' most recent contest ended in a 66-55 win on the road versus Washington State. Roberto Nelson poured in a game-high 26 points in the tilt, during which the Beavers drained 52.5 percent of their total shots.
Nelson (21.7 ppg, 3.8 apg) has been posting game-highs in points all season long, as he leads the Pac-12 in scoring. Although the 6-foot-4 guard is built to shoot, netting 40.2 percent from the beyond the arc, he has also shown growth as a passer this season. Devon Collier (14.1 ppg, 7 rpg) is connecting on 62.3 percent of his attempts from the field, but he has been less productive of late, with his 10 points against Washington State breaking a streak of five games where he failed to reach double figures. Angus Brandt (12.5 ppg) and Eric Moreland (9.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) have helped pick up the slack.
Paced by a game-high 23 points from C.J. Wilcox, the Huskies were able to hold on for the win against Oregon. The Huskies shot 57.8 percent from the floor in the game and recorded assists on 17 of their 26 field goals. They also held scoring advantages from beyond the arc (21-12) and at the free-throw line (21-18).
Wilcox (19.9 ppg) will be tasked with keeping up with Nelson in the scoring department, as he is second in the Pac-12 behind the Beavers' guard in points per game. Wilcox bounced back from a nine-point effort in the previous bout against Stanford, to rack up his ninth 20-point showing of the year against Oregon. Nigel Williams-Goss (12.1 ppg, 4.2 apg) has endured some growing pains, but has been an otherwise strong performer in his freshman season, while Andrew Andrews (12.8 ppg) and Perris Blackwell (10.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg) are also solid contributors.
Although the Huskies rarely roll over teams, they have consistently found ways to win at home. Expect them to do so again in what could very well become a shootout between Wilcox and Nelson.
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