LAS VEGAS — Oregon State had a penchant for finding ways to lose instead of win for most of the regular season. If the opposing team hit a big shot or one of the Beavers missed a key free throw, they would slump their shoulders and watch the other team walk off with a victory.
With a chance to move on in the Pac-12 tournament, Oregon State found a way to make the big plays down the stretch.
Drew Eubanks scored 19 points, Stephen Thompson Jr. added 14 and the Beavers outlasted Washington 69-66 in overtime on Wednesday night in the opening round of the tournament.
“We said at halftime, ‘Guys, when we make mistakes and we coach you and get after you, you can’t drop your chins,’” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “That’s part of developing toughness and maturity. And I thought the second half we really did that. That was the difference.”
Oregon State went up 66-64 in overtime on Tres Tinkle’s two free throws and Washington tried to set up a shot to tie, but David Crisp threw the ball out of bounds. Eubanks hit 1 of 2 free throws and Crisp scored on a layup with 3.1 seconds remaining to pull the Huskies within two.
Tinkle hit two more free throws with 2.5 seconds to go and Crisp got a good look at a tying 3-pointer, but it caromed off the back of the rim.
Oregon State (16-15) moves on to face No. 2 seed Southern California in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
“It’s definitely a great feeling so far,” Thompson said. “We know we have a lot of work to do in order to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
Matisse Thybulle had 19 points and Noah Dickerson 15 points as Washington (20-12) saw its slim NCAA Tournament hopes all but disappear. The Huskies are likely to end up in a smaller tournament, such as the NIT.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Oregon State,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “I mean, they battled, they made the plays down the stretch that you had to make. I mean, the bottom line is this is a championship-level conference and a great environment. They beat us in overtime. It was a heck of a game.”
Washington made a strong NCAA Tournament push with consecutive wins over Arizona and Arizona State in early February. But the Huskies fell away from the NCAA bubble with a stretch of four losses in five games, including a double-overtime setback at Oregon State.
Washington won two of its final three games, but needed a strong run in the Pac-12 tournament to have any NCAA shot.
The third meeting of the season became a defensive battle, neither team able to find much operating room.
Oregon State made 8 of 23 shots in the first half, including 1 for 7 from the 3-point arc. Washington was slightly better, going 11 for 29 and 2 for 9 from 3 to lead 29-25.
Halftime adjustments freed up both offenses early before the defenses controlled the game again. Oregon State went nearly 6 minutes without scoring, but Washington couldn’t stretch its lead. Then the Huskies had a stretch when it went 1 for 9 and the Beavers capitalized, going on a 10-2 run to go up 55-51.
Washington likely fell short in its NCAA Tournament bid, but still won 20 games and had its biggest turnaround since 1937-38 in its first season under Hopkins.
“New coaching staff, new system, there is a lot going on,” Hopkins said. “These guys went out there and made the plays that they had to make. We’ve beaten some really, really good teams this year. Part of what we’re trying to build is a standard of excellence.”