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WSU Cougars break through at Oregon 74-71 behind Bonton’s 23

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Isaac Bonton scored 23 points and the WSU Cougars made 6 of 8 free throws in the final 30 seconds to defeat Oregon 74-71 on Thursday night, the Cougars’ first win in Eugene since 2009 and first-ever in Matthew Knight Arena.

WSU Cougars 74, Oregon 71: Box Score

The Cougars led for the final 17 minutes but never more than by the eight points with seven minutes to goby five or less for the last 6:20. The eight point lead came when Efe Abogidi followed two Bonton free throws with a spectacular dunk on a Bonton assist and then made two free throws for his only points of the game.

Noah Williams scored 14 points for the WSU Cougars (11-7, 4-7 Pac-12 Conference), which made 18 of 24 free throws in the second half. Williams and Bonton each made 3 of 4 in the last half minute.

Eugene Omoruyi scored 21 points for the Ducks (9-4, 4-3), who were playing just their second game since Jan. 9 due to COVID-19 protocols. Leading scorer Chris Duarte and leading rebound FJ Figueroa missed that last game and in this game suffered injuries.

Figueroa only scored one point in the first half after hurting an ankle barely four minutes in but he returned to finish with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Duarte had 11 points but left less than two minutes into the second half with an injury to his right leg and didn’t return.

Oregon point guard Will Richardson played in his first game with a heavily taped left thumb, injured in the preseason. He was held to four free throws before a three-point play with 26.7 seconds left, a layup at 18 seconds and a free throw with 3.6 seconds remaining, giving him 10 points. He also had six rebounds and five assists but had five turnovers.

Washington State led 36-31 at the break on the strength of hitting 8 of 16 3-pointers. The WSU Cougars were just 4 of 16 closer to the basket. WSU finished 10 of 22 behind the arch and 11 of 27 inside.

Washington State goes to Oregon State on Saturday when Oregon faces visiting Washington.

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