The Pac-12, in all its craziness, claimed another victim.
It was just a week ago when Washington hit a game-winning 3-pointer to beat then-No. 9 Arizona and make a surge up the conference standings. This week it was Oregon State hitting the crucial shot in a 97-94 double overtime win.
Washington (17-8, 7-5 Pac-12) was once up by 13 points only to see its latest road trip fall to pieces when Beavers guard Stephen Thompson Jr. hit a game-winning 3 with less than one second left Saturday at Gill Coliseum.
“In the second half, we just didn’t defend the 3-point line and that’s what we do,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “We let Thompson get hot. When those guys get hot, they start getting confident and you see what happens. They hit the big one.”
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OSU (13-11, 5-7) had the ball with 11 seconds left when Thompson Jr, who scored 22 points, set up between the top of the key and the wing before unleashing what would be the biggest shot of the Beavers’ season and one of the most numbing of the Huskies’ campaign.
Double overtime began when freshman guard Jaylen Nowell threw the first punch with a dunk. OSU countered with a Drew Eubanks layup for a 89-89 tie with 3:09 left. Eubanks would finish with 18 points points and 13 rebounds.
Beavers forward Tres Tinkle appeared trapped between two defenders but actually had a clean look at the net for a short shot and a 92-90 lead with 1:28 left. Tinkle led all scorers with 29 points and 11 boards.
Nowell, who scored 23 points, went inside again only to throw an errant pass that allowed the Beavers to regain possession. It appeared Matisse Thybulle tipped the pass from Stephen Thompson Jr. but the ball had enough force that Eubanks grabbed it and dunked for a 94-90 lead with 39 seconds left.
Thybulle, on the following play, drained a 3-pointer and it was 94-93 with 31.0 seconds left. UW forced a steal and after a few missed shots, Dominic Green recovered the loose ball but was fouled while going up for a shot.
Green, who hit the game-winning 3 in the win over then-No. 9 Arizona, missed the first foul shot but hit the second.
Then came Thompson’s shot and the realization the Huskies, after winning four straight, have now lost two in a row. Thompson’s game-winner comes two years after he hit a similar buzzer-beater in February 2016.
“We got several chances to close the game out and we didn’t do it,” said Huskies junior forward Noah Dickerson. “Thompson hit a great shot. Same shot he hit on us a few years ago.”
UW ends the trip south with consecutive losses that could, at least in the interim, impact its NCAA Tournament hopes.
The Huskies had a chance to take the lead in regulation when Nowell took a short jumper that rimmed out and the Beavers recovered.
OSU had a look at basket but Thompson’s jumper went off the rim. Eubanks grabbed the rebound and even though his put back went in, time already expired.
Layups from Tinkle and a a 3-pointer from Thompson gave the Beavers a 87-83 edge with 2:49 remaining in overtime.
Dickerson, with 1:35 left, drew a foul and a chorus of boos from the thousands of fans at Gill. He converted both shots to make it 87-85. Dickerson led UW with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
OSU, on its next trip, took the ball down court with Gill silenced. Dickerson forced a block that put the Huskies in transition but they could not get a bucket.
Thompson Jr, with less than 50 seconds left, ran down the clock only to have the possession end on a missed shot.
UW went down the floor and Dickerson drew another foul with 24.4 seconds left. He hit both free throws to tie the game at 87-87.
Washington, after calling a timeout, fouled OSU with 14.8 seconds. Thompson Jr. drove inside and collided with Sam Timmins for a foul with 3.3 seconds left.
Thompson Jr. missed both free throws to set up a second overtime.
Such a bizarre ending seemed unlikely earlier.
Nowell, after having his shot blocked, recovered the miss and scored inside for a 64-54 lead with 9:10 left.
Huskies point guard David Crisp, on the following possession, used Noah Dickerson as a screen and hit a 3 near the top of the key for a 67-54 lead with 8:24 to go left. UW hit eight of its last nine shots and gave That gave UW its largest lead of the game.
UW appeared ready to create some real distance until OSU drained five straight shots to keep it at 74-67 with 4:34 left.
Then it became six straight shots when Tinkle hit a 3-pointer to trim it to 74-70. with 4:13 left.
Soon it became seven when Thompson Jr. hit a 3-pointer and cut the UW edge to 76-73.
Nowell dunked to make it 78-73 with 3:08 left. On the next possession, he forced a steal and as he was running toward the basket, an official ruled Nowell stepped out of bounds.
The Huskies failed to score over the final 91 seconds which was enough time for OSU, down 80-75, to score five points and force overtime.
Any team that’s faced Oregon State this year knows its going to spend time in the paint. The Beavers entered Saturday shooting 50.8 percent from the field with many of those baskets coming from inside.
“They had some shooters that could shoot from deep,” Dickerson said of a Beavers’ team that shot 50 percent from the field off 66 attempts. “So that made our guards respect them and have to come a little out. They got the ball into the high post ... they just kept making the right play.”
It’s something the Huskies struggled to stop given 32 of the Beavers’ 40 points came from inside. And that was with more than 15 minutes left.
Knowing the Beavers’ plan of attack, the Huskies did one of three things to get points. They either ran their normal sets, let Dickerson operate in the paint or had Crisp drive inside and force the Beavers to shrink the paint.
Crisp and the Huskies started building a cushion when he drove inside for a layup and a foul. He hit the accompanying free throw for a 24-19 lead with 8:26 left in that half. His basket gave UW more points than it had in either half of a 65-40 loss Thursday to Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Huskies struggled to move the ball Thursday as they only accounted for six assists and 15 field total field goals.
UW already had seven assists on 14 field goals by half against OSU. The Huskies had one ossession when Green got his man in the air with a pump fake.
He didn’t have a clean enough look and fed the ball to Nowell, who saw an open Thybulle in the corner. Thybulle hit a 3-pointer for a 29-24 lead with 4:08 left.
Another area that plagued UW in its last game was how it operated in the paint. The Huskies grabbed 33 boards but only scored 24 inside.
They had 21 rebounds and 20 points from within. Dickerson, following a missed 3 from Thybulle, established position to get a put back for a 33-26 lead.
It led to OSU calling a timeout with 2:18 left only to grow more frustrated around a minute later.
The Huskies missed a shot and as the Beavers were getting into transition, Thybulle deflected a pass that the referees claimed came off a OSU player.
Nearly every fan in Gill booed the decision. Those groans grew louder when Thybulle drained another 3-pointer for a 36-26 lead with 1:14 left.
“We gotta be better,” Hopkins said. “Tonight, our defense failed us. We scored enough points. We did a good job for the most part. We just didn’t defend that 3-point line.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark