CORVALLIS — Oregon State hadn’t been able to find an answer to a Pac-12 opponent, dropping its first five conference games.
But the Beavers were able to muster one Wednesday night against Washington after it looked like it might get away from them again. Oregon State watched a 20-point first-half lead shrink to one with under 11 minutes to play but held on for a 74-66 win.
“This is what we’re capable of,” said Beavers guard Roberto Nelson, who had 15 points, 10 in the second half. “The whole team, the coaching staff, nobody thought we’d be 0-5 starting off.”
Devon Collier led Oregon State (11-8, 1-5 Pac-12), which started the season 9-2, with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Eric Moreland added 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Beavers, who had their highest-scoring game in conference play.
C.J. Wilcox had 23 points and seven rebounds and Aziz N’Diaye added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Washington (12-7, 4-2), which lost its second straight game.
“We didn’t execute tonight,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Early on, we weren’t committed to what we were supposed to be doing.”
Washington chipped away at a 10-point halftime deficit early in the second half.
The Huskies closed within 41-35 as Wilcox closed out a 6-0 run with a shot from outside. A Wilcox 3-pointer later made it 49-45 Oregon State. Wilcox hit another from 3-point range with 12:16 left that got Washington within 53-52.
The Beavers extended the lead to 61-55 on Nelson’s 3-pointer with 8:17 left.
Oregon State later scored five straight points, with Ahmad Starks’ 3-pointer and Collier’s two free throws making it 66-57 with 5:11 remaining.
Washington got no closer than six from there, and the Beavers led by as many as 10 in the closing minutes.
“We seemed to keep our heads a little bit. We didn’t get down on the run they were making,” Starks said. “We’ve kind of depended on one-on-one play, and we stopped that and just played our game.”
Oregon State shot 26 of 59 overall from the field, while Washington was 25 of 53. The Beavers had a 36-35 rebounding edge and seven steals, led by Joe Burton’s three.
Oregon State had five players in double-figure scoring, with Burton getting 13 points and Starks 10. Washington had four, with Abdul Gaddy scoring 14 and Scott Suggs 11.
Oregon State jumped to an 11-1 run behind five points from Starks.
The Beavers, on their way to their most first-half points in a Pac-12 game this season, kept the pressure on, going ahead 20-9 on Olaf Schaftenaar’s 3-pointer.
Oregon State took its biggest lead of the half at 34-14 on Collier’s dunk off a steal with 5:28 before intermission.