With 3:45 remaining in the first half, Oregon was feeling pretty good about itself, leading hated-rival Oregon State 28-22. The Ducks were first to 50-50 balls, knocking down open three-pointers and simply outplaying and outhustling the Beavers.
And then things fell apart.
The Beavers scored the next 15 points — spanning both halves — and Oregon never recovered, falling to Oregon State 72-57 on Saturday night at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
“It’s a tough place to play sometimes," Oregon’s Paul White said. "Tonight was one of those things. First half we did a good job… the second half we gave them too many easy baskets (and) it bit us in the butt."
With the loss, the Ducks (15-10) failed to jump into the top-4 of the Pac-12 standings. Instead, Oregon finds itself in a tie for seventh at 6-6, 1.5 games behind the fourth spot that would earn a bye at the Pac-12 tournament.
Meanwhile, Oregon State (16-8) takes over sole control of second place, sitting at 8-4 and three games behind first-place Washington. The win also signified the first sweep the Beavers have had over the Ducks since the 2009-10 season.
“Bad turnovers, don’t shoot free throws at all and then (let OSU) score 45 points in the second half… that’s not a very good formula for winning on the road,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “We got a lot to learn and a lot to grow from — that second half was not very good."
Louis King was the best player on the court for the Ducks, scoring a team-high 20 points on an efficient 6-of-11 from the floor, 5-7 from deep. He added a team-high eight rebounds and played good defense on Oregon State’s leading scorer Tres Tinkle, limiting him to 13 points.
White added 12 points but was just 1-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Oregon played well in the early-going, forcing the Beavers into difficult shots and then taking advantage of what was given to them offensively.
King drilled his first two three-pointers within the first five minutes, giving Oregon a 10-6 lead. The Ducks extended their lead to 25-18 over the next 10 minutes, knocking down three more from beyond the arc for their largest lead of the game.
Momentum changed in favor of the Beavers after that, as Tinkle took over offensively. He had back-to-back assists that led to easy layups before adding a three-pointer and a layup of his own as Oregon State outscored the Ducks 9-3 the rest of the half, including the final five points.
The Beavers came out of the break on fire as Oregon looked a step slow and just out of sync on both sides of the ball.
Oregon State scored the first nine points, the first seven came on and-one plays. Stephen Thompson Jr. drilled a three-pointer from the wing after being fouled by Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, and made the ensuing free throw. Then Ethan Thompson made a tough layup in traffic while being fouled by the Ducks’ Will Richardson, also sinking the free throw.
The Beavers’ lead stretch to 36-28 three minutes into the second half before the Ducks woke up. Oregon went on an 11-2 run over the next four and a half minutes as White’s and-one capped his run of scoring eight of the points.
The Ducks’ final lead came at 42-40 following a King three-pointer before Stephen regained the lead for Oregon State on a three-pointer in the next possession.
After the Beavers stretched the lead, the Ducks were able to cut the deficit to four following a Miles Norris layup with 7:50 to play. But Oregon State, buoyed by the loud and encouraging environment, went on an 18-5 run to take a 68-51 lead with 2:32 to go, essentially ending the game.
Stephen Thompson finished with a game-high 22 points, knocking down 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, all of them coming in the second half. Ethan added 10 points while Gligorjie Rakocevic and Alfred Hollins combined for 19 points off the bench.
Pritchard, who was coming off back-to-back 20-point games in Oregon’s previous two wins, finished with just four points on 1-of-4 shooting, 1-of-3 from beyond the arc. He did finish with seven assists to one turnover, but if Oregon is going to be successful on the road, it needs more from its veteran guard, or its coaching staff.
“We didn’t get him enough shots and that’s my fault," Altman said of Pritchard’s play tonight. "We need to get him more shots… he’s got to shoot the ball more than four times, and that’s my fault. That’s poor coaching."
The Ducks travel to Southern California later in the week, facing USC on Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.