SEATTLE — Win or stay home in March.
That’s how the Washington men’s basketball team billed the game Wednesday against No. 23 Oregon.
While their offense stumbled and wheezed all night, the Huskies played spirited defense allowing them to remain within striking distance.
However, they had just one lead for less than a minute midway in the first half and the end to their 65-52 defeat came gradually and then suddenly.
As the Ducks pushed a six-point halftime lead to 12 points with 12:02 remaining, the Huskies took advantage of Oregon’s suspect ball-handling to force turnovers and keep the game close.
Washington cut its deficit to 51-44 with 5:22 left and pressured Oregon to burn three timeouts during a two-minute span.
Then Ducks junior guard Johnathan Loyd drained a long jumper, freshman guard Damyean Dotson sank a layup and senior forward Arsalan Kazemi drained a free throw giving Oregon another 12-point advantage at 56-44 with 3:13 left.
It was the second fewest points for the Huskies, who fell to 13-12 and 5-7 in the Pac-12.
Washington has lost seven of its past eight games.
It’s the worst eight-game stretch for coach Lorenzo Romar since his first season at Washington in 2002-03.
Meanwhile, Oregon improved to 20-5 and inched to the top of the conference standings at 9-3.
With leading scorer C.J. Wilcox mired in an eight-game shooting slump, Abdul Gaddy took control. The senior guard finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. No other Husky scored in double figures.
Oregon had five players score at least 10 points.
Beavers 67, Cougars 66
PULLMAN — That it came down to the final possession was a testament to how badly Washington State wanted to win on Wednesday.
How hard the Cougars played without Mike Ladd, their starting point guard.
And how many big shots they had to sink — 14 for 28 from 3-point range — in order to even make it a game.
But then, the Cougars’ shortcomings in their 67-66 loss to Oregon State — turnovers and rebounding, direct results of Ladd’s absence — were ultimately too many to ignore before a crowd of 4,167 at Beasley Coliseum. WSU fell to 11-14 and into last place at 2-10 in Pac-12 play.