Oregon State pushed the Huskies to the limit and beyond before Washington finally shook free for an 81-76 overtime victory in front of 9,863 spectators at Alaska Airlines Arena.
It couldn’t happen again, could it?
That’s what David Crisp thought when Stephen Thompson Jr. rose for an off-balance three-pointer as time expired in regulation.
The Oregon State star tormented the Huskies twice in the past three years with buzzer-beating game-winners and seemed poised to do it again Wednesday night.
“I was in the same exact spot last year at Oregon State,” said Crisp who was the primary defender on Thompson at the end once again. “I remember the move he made. Kind of the same exact move. I played it better this time. He stepped around and got a little space and my heart was in my stomach.
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“I (saw) the shot. It looked off, but I was like please don’t let this somehow go in.”
Thompson missed, which allowed Crisp and the 9,863 at Alaska Airlines Arena to exhale a huge sigh of relief.
In the extra period, Noah Dickerson staked Washington with a big lead before Crisp drained a dagger three-pointer in the final minute to deliver an 81-76 overtime victory.
“We won a lot of close games last year and we won a lot of close games this year,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “You don’t want to be in a lot of close games if you execute.
“We just challenged them. You’ve got to be tougher. We’ve got to be tougher. It’s going to come down are you tough enough? I know you’re tired and emotionally tired, but can you be tough enough?”
This week was supposed to be a victory lap for Washington and its four seniors to celebrate their outright Pac-12 regular-season title and savor their final two home games.
However, Wednesday night felt like anything but a coronation as Oregon State pushed the Huskies to the brink and Thompson nearly pulled off the upset.
“They’ve been like that all four years. All our games are close,” Dickerson said of the Beavers. “They’re just a tough team that are always there. They always hang around. They always have a chance.”
Last year, Thompson hit a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in double overtime to give the Beavers a heart-stopping victory at Gill Coliseum.
And in 2016, the OSU senior guard drilled a three-pointer as time expired to defeat the Huskies.
“For the last three years, he’s been giving us a lot of daggers,” Hopkins said. “He’s a heckuva player. Anytime he has the ball. I’m like a nervous wrck over there because I know what how good he is. We were fortunate that one missed.”
Dickerson took over in the extra period and scored seven of his game-high tying 22 points. He also finished with 17 rebounds.
“Tonight they played behind him, they played him in a 1-on-1 situation and when they do that happens,” Hopkins said. “He was incredible. Not only his points, but the way he rebounded, he defended and his efficiency.
“When he’s like that we’re a tough team to beat. He was active, he was all over the place. He was talking. He was bringing positive energy. Really, really proud of him tonight.”
Dickerson put Washington up 74-69 in overtime and at the other end Tres Tinkle, who scored 31 points, answered with a three-pointer to cut UW’s lead to two points.
That’s when Crisp, who finished with 22 points, knocked down his fourth three-pointer from the wing to push UW ahead 77-72 with 49 seconds left.
“I knew I was going to make it,” said Crisp, who connected on 7 of 9 field goals and was 4 of 5 behind he arc. “I was just made sure I had my feet set and knocked it down.”
Jaylen Nowell finished with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists for Washington (24-6, 15-2 Pac-12), which tied its most conference wins and kept its home record unblemished at 15-0.
Oregon State (17-12, 9-8) lost its fourth straight game by five points or fewer. Kylor Kelley finished with 16 points and Thompson was held to nine points – seven shy of his scoring average – on 3-for-10 shooting.
“It’s a tough one. It’s going to hurt,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We had our chances in regulation and we made mistakes defensively when we went on our own page instead of doing things the way we work on them and w then we didn’t deliver any of those finishing plays on the offensive end.”
The Huskies, which outscored the Beavers 15-10 in overtime, hit 4 of 6 free throws to close out their scoring.
Washington’s past three games have been decided by a total of nine points and each time the outcome wasn’t determined until the final possession.
Last week, UW was upset 76-73 at California before beating Stanford 62-61 on Sunday at Maples Pavilion.
“Poise in pressure situation is the biggest thing,” Hopkins said. “You want your guys to understand, it’s the next play. … We talked to our guys about everything matters.
“The biggest to gain from this is poise. We’ve been in a lot of these. We’ve been able to make foul shots down the stretch. And we’ve been able to get stops down the stretch. And that’s huge.”
— Washington commit Isaiah Stewart attended last night’s game. The 6-foot-9 forward from Rochester, N.Y. is rated the No. 4 recruit nationally, according to ESPN.com.