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Tired of wasting leads, Washington takes on Oregon State


Washington has stuck to the same script in each of its first three Pac-12 Conference games this season.

Take a six-point lead — or bigger — in the second half only to watch the Huskies’ opponents come from behind to win.

The Huskies (8-6, 0-3 Pac-12) will try to rewrite that ending Saturday afternoon when they play host to Oregon State (9-5, 1-2) in Seattle.

“It seems to be like deja vu,” said Huskies guard Sahvir Wheeler, who scored a game-high 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting in a 76-74 loss to visiting Oregon on Thursday night. “As corny as it sounds at this point, I know a majority of us … are getting tired of saying it, but we’re right there.

“At some point, we got to get over the hump and figure out what we got to do that’s consistent to every game that’s going to lead us to wins. Hopefully, we get that turnaround quick because now we’re in conference play.”

After blowing a seven-point lead with less than six minutes to play in a 73-69 loss at Colorado and an 11-point halftime lead in a 95-90 defeat at Utah, the Huskies were optimistic about coming home.

But that optimism was dashed by the Ducks’ Jermaine Couisnard, who made a driving layup with 12 seconds remaining to break a tie.

“Even though we had a six-point lead (at the half), it felt like there was just something radically wrong,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “I don’t know what it was. Even though we had the lead, it felt like we were struggling a lot (with) our energy and our pace.

“We kept telling the guys, ‘Listen, you can’t let a team like this hang around.’ In the start of the second half, we gave the lead back right away.”

The Beavers lost 65-58 on Thursday at Washington State despite Jordan Pope’s 20 points.

That came after they split with the Los Angeles schools at home in Corvallis, losing 69-62 to UCLA on Dec. 28 before rebounding with an 86-70 victory against Southern California on Dec. 30.

“This was one small step in the right direction,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said after beating the Trojans. “I said now the challenge is to take it on the road and continue to develop.”

Pope leads Oregon State with 17.1 points per game, while Dexter Akanno (13.1) and Tyler Bilodeau (11.9) also average in double figures. Bilodeau also is the top rebounder at 5.8 boards per game.

–Field Level Media

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