David Crisp didn’t care for this particular moment of deja vu.
During Oregon State’s final possession of regulation, all Crisp could think about was the last time he had this view. It was a season ago — on the Beavers’ home court in double overtime — but the circumstances were the same.
Tie game. Oregon State ball. Stephen Thompson, Jr.
The location on the court was familiar. Thompson, Jr. even made the same move. This time, Crisp was ready. He played it better. But then Thompson, Jr. stepped around him, got some space and launched the ball toward the basket.
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“My heart was just in my stomach just looking at it,” Crisp said. “It looked off but I was like, ‘Please don’t let it somehow go in.’”
It didn’t. Not this time.
A season ago, Thompson, Jr.’s last-second 3-pointer gave the Beavers a victory. This time, his off-balanced attempt bounced harmlessly off the back of the rim and sent the game to overtime.
The Huskies took over from there. They never trailed in the extra period, topping Oregon State 81-76 at Alaska Airlines Arena. UW now has 15 conference wins for the first time since 1983-84.
“That’s what we hang our hats on, defense,” Crisp said. “So I felt good about our chances getting the stop.”
UW has said it a hundred different ways this season: Everything starts with defense. That’s been true before, and it was true again on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t the Huskies’ best defensive performance overall — Oregon State shot 46.4 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line — but UW locked in when it needed to the most.
After the Huskies stifled Oregon State at the end of regulation, Hameir Wright came up with a steal on the Beavers’ first possession of overtime. That allowed Noah Dickerson to hit a jumper at the other end and put UW up 68-66.
Ethan Thompson then went 1-for-2 at the foul line, but Crisp responded by driving the lane and dishing to Dickerson for a dunk.
“I saw him the whole way. I locked his eyes,” said Dickerson, who finished with a double-double of 22 points and 17 rebounds. “He came from the baseline and tossed it me. I went up against some guys and did what I do.”
Tres Tinkle, who finished with a game-high 31 points, then cut UW’s advantage to one point with a jumper before Jaylen Nowell went 2-for-2 at the foul line. The Huskies needed a bigger cushion, and their defense came through again. They got a stop. And when Dickerson followed with a layup, UW pulled ahead 74-69 with 1:45 left.
Dickerson scored seven of the Huskies’ 15 points in overtime.
“Tonight they played behind (Dickerson),” said head coach Mike Hopkins. “They played him in a one-on-one situation and when they do, that happens. He was incredible. Not only his points but the way he rebounded, defended, his efficiency.
“When he’s like that, we’re a tough team to beat. He was active. He was all over the place. He was talking. He was bringing positive energy. Really, really proud of him tonight.”
Oregon State battled back from three six-point deficits in the second half. It tried to make one last run in overtime, pulling within two points on a Tinkle 3-pointer with 1:19 left. But then Nowell drove to the basket at the other end, and a conversation from the first half came flooding back.
“At the end of regulation when Jay went in there and it got bobbled, my dude helped off,” Crisp said. “We talked about it during timeouts and I just said my man was helping in. I told him, “If you kick it out to me, I’ll make it.”
That’s exactly what happened.
And that’s exactly what Crisp did.
Crisp finished with 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from the 3-point line. He didn’t miss a shot in the first half, scoring eight of UW’s first 11 points. At halftime, he had 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field, 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
UW went 4-for-6 at the free throw line down the stretch to hold on for the win.
“I feel like all four years, all our games were close (with Oregon State),” Dickerson said. “They’re a tough team. They’re always there. They always hang around. They always have a chance to win. Last couple of games they lost by two or three points. They’re always tough. They’re tough to play.”
Both teams have played a string of close games lately. Before Wednesday, the Beavers’ last four games were decided by five points or less. The victory was the Huskies’ third straight game decided by that margin. After falling to Cal 76-73, they topped Stanford 62-61.
“The biggest thing to be gained from (close games) is poise,” Hopkins said. “We’ve been in a lot of these. We’ve been able to make foul shots down the stretch. We’ve been able to get stops down the stretch and that’s huge.”
The Huskies will wrap up the regular season against Oregon on Saturday. They have already clinched the Pac-12 regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. … 2019 five-star center Isaiah Stewart was in town on an unofficial visit. He committed to UW in January. …. Matisse Thybulle finished with four steals, breaking his own school record for most steals in a season. He now has 104.