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Low, Washington State end struggles against Oregon

Jan 21, 2008 - 5:23 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- Derrick Low and Washington had one major hole in last season's 26-win campaign - a victory over Oregon. They got it on Sunday.

Low scored a season-high 27 points as the eighth-ranked Cougars captured a long-awaited victory over the Ducks, 69-60, in the Pac-10 Conference.

Kyle Weaver added 16 points for Washington State (16-1, 4-1 Pac-10), which beat Oregon for the first time in 14 games dating to the 2000-01 campaign.

Last season, the Cougars broke into the national scene under first-year coach Tony Bennett, setting a school record for wins and tying for the best finish in the Pac-10 at second (13-5).

However, Washington could not top Oregon, absorbing two losses - including a 77-74 setback here last January 27. Low scored a career-high 37 points in that defeat.

Unable to take a lead in the first half in this one, the Cougars went ahead for just the third time in the contest at 60-59 on Weaver's layup with 1:03 remaining.

After a timeout by the Ducks, Malik Hairston got a good look to put his team back ahead but his jumper from just inside the key hit the front of the rim. The senior guard then compounded his miss by bumping Taylor Rochestie for his fifth foul.

Rochestie made both free throws and, after Bryce Taylor had a contested layup roll out, added two more for a 64-59 advantage with 24 seconds left.

Low, who scored 18 of his points in the second half, added two more free throws 10 seconds later to make it a seven-point game.

Making three of his four 3-pointers after intermission, Low finished 10-of-16 from the field. Aron Baynes added 11 points and seven rebounds for Washington State, which shot 50 percent (25-of-50).

In his last two meetings with the Ducks here, Low has scored 67 points while shooting 54 percent (20-of-37), including 12-of-19 on 3-pointers.

The Cougars' poor luck with the Ducks showed early, as Oregon jumped out to a strong start.

Maarty Leunen opened the contest with a 3-pointer for the Ducks, who scored the first seven points of the game and took a 12-2 advantage after two free throws by Taylor with 4:07 expired.

Oregon did tack one more point onto that lead in the opening minutes, but Washington State stormed back. It tied the score at 27-27 when a 3-pointer by Daven Harmeling with 2:30 remaining capped a 14-3 run.

Hairston responded with a dunk, and the Ducks scored seven straight points before Weaver's 3-pointer ensured the Cougars went into the break trailing, 34-30.

It was the sixth time that Washington State trailed at the half this season, but first time at home. It improved to 5-1 in those games.

The Cougars continued to trail until Low hit a 3-pointer and Weaver added a jumper for their first lead at 42-41 with 14:59 to play.

The Ducks went back ahead moments later on Hairston's jumper and a 3-pointer by Taylor, which made it 46-42 with 13:55 left.

Washington State, which improved to 6-0 at Friel Court, took its second lead when Weaver capped a 9-2 run with a pair of free throws for a 53-52 advantage with 6:37 remaining.

Leunen ended the spurt with a 3-pointer before Weaver forged another tie at 55-55 with five minutes left on a layup. After a layup by Hairston, Low was fouled on a drive but could not make the free throw for a three-point play, keeping the game deadlocked with 4:01 to play.

Both teams went scoreless for nearly the next two minutes until Hairston converted a pair of free throws with 2:08 left. Low then split two from the stripe seconds later before the Cougars went ahead for good on Weaver's basket.

Leunen finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds and Hairston had 14 and seven for Oregon (12-6, 3-3), which dropped its second straight game. It also lost at Washington, 78-70, on Thursday.