PULLMAN — Oregon State watched four separate 10-point leads disappear, but hit key free throws down the stretch to beat Washington State 66-55 on Wednesday.
“We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we normally do, both from the foul line and the outside, but we did enough stuff to win the game,” Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said.
Oregon State shot 52 percent from the field, but hit only one 3-pointer in the second half. The Beavers attacked the rim down the stretch and they converted on free throws when it mattered – they were 7 of 8 down the stretch to finish 19 of 27 for the game.
Roberto Nelson scored 26 points, hitting 11 of 15 free throws, and Angus Brandt chipped in 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field as Oregon State (11-7, 3-3 Pac-12) got its first conference road win.
“Roberto has a great IQ for a guy who is such a good player,” Robinson said. “He rarely forced anything out there today and then he made the foul shots that we needed him to make.”
D.J. Shelton scored a career-high 24 points, going 4 for 4 from behind the arc for Washington State (8-11, 1-6 Pac-12), which continues to struggle without injured leading scorer DaVonte Lacy. Que Johnson added 15 points.
The Beavers led by 11 with 6:15 remaining in the game. Ike Iroegbu hit a 3-pointer followed by back-to-back 3’s from Shelton to cut the led to six, 56-50, but that would be as close as the Cougars would get as OSU began converting free throws.
Oregon State built a 10-point lead twice in the first half, leading 21-11 at the 9:26 mark. The Beavers shot 69 percent from the field (9 of 13) during the stretch. The Beavers led 27-17 late in the half but Washington State hit the final two shots to come to within 33-27.
Washington State shot 59 percent for the half (13-22) but was plagued by turnovers and only hit one free throw, finishing the game 1-4. The Cougars started the game with six turnovers in the opening eight minutes of play. They started the second half in similar fashion, with turnovers on their first two possessions.
“I think we turned the ball over early in the game, we had six, seven turnovers in about 8 minutes,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said. “We were careless with the ball and we can’t do that.
“We have struggled to score points, with DaVonte out, we just can’t turn the ball over and give up those points. “
Nelson moved into sixth place on Oregon State’s career scoring list with 1,473 points. Devon Collier scored 10 points and moved into 11th place with 1,326.
The Beavers won in Pullman in consecutive years for the first time in 14 years.