EUGENE, Ore. — All Washington needed was one more win to have its longest Pac-12 winning streak in more than five years. Instead, another less flattering streak took over in a 65-40 loss Thursday to Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena.
It was the first time UW has been held below 50 points since a 64-47 loss in March 2015 to Colorado at Alaska Airlines Arena. Junior forward Noah Dickerson, who scored 14 points and added 11 rebounds, was the only Husky to reach double figures.
“Sometimes you have a game where the ball doesn’t go in the basket,” said Dickerson of a Huskies’ team that struggled the field. “I still thought we played pretty good defense. We held them to 65 points. Short-term memory. We’ll get past it.”
The Huskies have yet to win a game since Knight Arena opened in 2011. In fact, the Huskies have not won a game in Eugene since March 2010. History suggests UW’s loss shouldn’t be surprising. Recent events, however, suggested this could have been the game the streak ended. UW (17-7, 7-4 Pac-12) had won four straight conference games, including wins over then-No. 25 Arizona State and No. 9 Arizona.
Oregon, on the other hand, was coming off its worst game of the season, a 96-61 loss at Stanford.
The Ducks (16-8, 6-5) shot under 43 percent, but they hit the right amount of shots and kept the Huskies under 38 percent from the field.
Oregon continually stretched UW on defense to try and find an open shot. The Ducks’ smoothest exchange came when they rotated the ball around the floor and the possession ended with Kenny Wooten scoring on an uncontested dunk for a 36-24 lead with 15:07 to play. Wooten’s dunk gave the Ducks their largest lead by that point and reinforced how the Huskies struggled to defend the paint.
Oregon finished with 36 points from the interior. Washington mustered just 24.
“Just one of those games defensively, we did what we had to do. We just couldn’t score enough points,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “I thought in the first half, foul trouble hurt us being able to get a good offensive rhythm. We couldn’t get a good flow. You gotta give Oregon the credit there. They’re switching defenses.”
Down 43-30, guard David Crisp drove inside only to miss the shot. Sophomore center Sam Timmins grabbed two offensive rebounds but missed both shots. Oregon’s Mikyle McIntosh grabbed a rebound and the Ducks parlayed UW’s missed shot into Troy Brown scoring on a layup. Brown’s bucket pushed the lead to 45-30 with 11:10 to go in the game.
“I felt today though it came down to Oregon playing like it was life or death,” Hopkins said. “You gotta match that. You gotta fight for that. Especially when you’re on the road.”
Washington has experienced poor first halves this season, but this may have been the worst it has encountered.
UWs 21 points was the lowest amount its had in the opening frame of a Pac-12 game. The only stretch that was poorer came when UW scored 17 in the second half of a 74-53 loss Dec. 31 at UCLA.
The Huskies went 8-for-26 and only converted 30.8 percent of its shots from the field. They were also 3-for-10 from the 3-point line.
Freshman Jaylen Nowell, who entered shooting 48.3 percent, was only 2-for-8 for 25 percent. He also committed three turnovers and had two fouls. The former Seattle Garfield High star finished 4-for-15 with 9 points and 5 turnovers.
He did, however, drive inside for a dunk to give the Huskies a 19-16 lead with 7:18 to go in the first half. It was part of a quick 6-0 run that would be short-lived.
Oregon, despite not getting a field goal in the half’s final 2-plus minutes, went on a 12-2 run to close out the half for a 28-21 lead.
Turnovers and fouls troubled the Huskies as a whole.
UW had three starters — Dickerson, Nowell and Timmins — who had two or more fouls by half.
Hopkins watched his team also commit nine turnovers in the half, the same amount the Huskies had over two halves in a 78-75 win over Arizona in their last game.
Washington committed 16 turnovers and were assessed with 19 fouls.
“We gotta go back and see the film for this one,” Dickerson said. “Each game is different but one of the problems of the game was we couldn’t get the ball in the basket.”