EUGENE, Ore. — Halfway to its first win against a ranked team in two years, Washington State failed to finish.
The Cougars surrendered a 10-point halftime lead to No. 16 Oregon and the Ducks rallied for a 68-61 victory on Wednesday night.
Mike Ladd had 19 points and Brock Motum scored 14 for Washington State (10-9, 1-5 Pac-12), which shot just 27.3 percent from the field in the second half as it lost a 39-29 halftime lead.
“It seemed like they turned the heat up in the second half,” Cougars coach Ken Bone said. “There’s a reason why they’re ranked 16th in the country.”
E.J. Singler had 19 points — 14 in the second half — for Oregon (17-2, 6-0), which is 6-0 in the conference for the first time since 1925-26, when the Ducks were known as the Webfoots and the league was called the Pacific Coast Conference.
Arsalan Kazemi added 16 points and Damyean Dotson had 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds for Oregon in its eighth straight victory.
The win was Oregon’s 19th straight at home, tied for the sixth-longest active streak in the nation.
“It was just one of those games, I guess,” Singler said. “All that matters is we got the ‘W.’ We have to have the mindset that we’re the hunted now.”
Oregon opened the second half on a 9-0 run, getting within a point of the Cougars’ double-digit lead on a breakaway dunk by Carlos Emory that made it 39-38 with 15:33 to play.
But Dexter Kernich-Drew snapped an 0-for-5 start to the second half for Washington State with a tough layup and Motum followed with a three-point play to put the Cougars back up 44-38.
Then Singler took over. The senior forward scored 10 straight points, tying the game 46-46 with the second of his consecutive 3-pointers. His free throws at the 11:45 mark gave the Ducks their first lead of the game, 48-46.
“I was just feeling it,” Singler said. “Some of the guys gave me some good passes, and I knocked down the shots. That got me going and coach ran some plays for me.”
The Cougars went back up 53-52 on a layup by Royce Woolridge with 7:38 to play, but Kazemi answered with a dunk off a pass from Singler, and Dominic Artis made a 3-pointer off another Singler assist as the Ducks took a 57-53 lead and they led the rest of the way.
“We bounced back and found a way,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “But you maybe get one of those a year, or two of those a year where you’re really outplayed in the first half. . You get those double-digit deficits and if you think you’re going to comeback from those every single game, you’re making a mistake.”
Ladd had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists in the first half for the Cougars, who cooled off considerably in the second half. After making 7 of 13 3-pointers in the first half, the Cougars missed on all 11 of their 3-point attempts in the second half.