This would have been considered a pretty big upset a few weeks ago.
In some ways, it still was. But more than anything, Washington’s 80-76 victory over struggling Oregon on Thursday night felt like a game the Huskies had to win if they were to maintain hope of making a run at the postseason.
Before an announced crowd of 6,748 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, UW (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12) prolonged Oregon’s losing streak and ended a two-game skid of its own, getting 23 points from senior guard C.J. Wilcox — including a dagger 3-pointer with 43.3 seconds left.
The Ducks (13-5, 1-5) have lost five consecutive games after winning their first 13 and earning a top-10 national ranking. Defense was not their strength; UW shot 57.8 percent from the field, including a 69.6 percent clip in the second half.
Still, this one was tight throughout, as Wilcox and forward Perris Blackwell each followed quiet first halves with team-carrying efforts down the stretch. Blackwell played his best while in foul trouble. The 6-foot-9 senior picked up his third foul early in the second half, then rattled off eight points in four minutes to put UW ahead, 44-40.
The struggle to build upon or maintain that margin was ever-lasting. The Huskies kept finding Wilcox and feeding Blackwell, who finished with 15 points. The Ducks kept crashing the offensive glass, finishing with a 32-25 rebounding margin.