CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Mike Ladd was Washington State's go-to guy in the first half, and Brock Motum picked up the Cougars after halftime. But it was Royce Woolridge who made the big plays in the end, helping his team to its first road win of the season.
Woolridge scored Washington State's final seven points Saturday afternoon in a 71-68 victory.
The sophomore guard twice scored on lay-ins in the last 2 minutes after Oregon State (11-9, 1-6 Pac-12) had closed within two. His two free throws with 7 seconds left provided the final margin.
"I felt like it was my time to step up and show some poise and some leadership," Woolridge said, added that he felt as though he didn't do much the rest of the game. It had been lackluster for Woolridge, who finished 2 of 10 from the floor and scored nine points.
Ladd, a senior guard, scored a career-high 23 points for the Cougars (11-9, 2-5), including 17 in the first half. Motum, a senior forward, added 20 points — 16 in the second half — and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Ahmad Starks had 17 points and tied a career high with eight assists for Oregon State (11-9, 1-6). Starks was wide of the basket on a potential game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the arc in the closing seconds.
That followed Washington State's DaVonte Lacy's two missed free throws and Starks' layup with 7.9 seconds left to cut the Cougars' advantage to one.
"He had the fresher body because he was out of the game for a few minutes," Washington State coach Ken Bone said of Woolridge, who came in averaging 7.6 points per game. "Ladd was really fatigued, so were trying to get the ball in Royce's hands. It worked out well."
Ladd's lay-in gave Washington State its first lead of the second half at 37-36 after the Cougars trailed by four at halftime. Oregon State came back with a 7-2 run, as Joe Burton's layup put the Beavers back up four.
Motum later hit his third 3-pointer of the second half to give the Cougars the lead for good, 54-51. Motum then made two free throws with 8:42 left after a technical foul on Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, who said later that he was unhappy with the officiating.
That gave Motum 15 points in the second half and Washington State a five-point lead.
D.J. Shelton added a 3-pointer with 6:42 left to make it an 8-0 Cougars run. Oregon State closed within 63-60 on a deep 2-pointer by Starks with 3:57 left.
The Beavers got within two on consecutive possessions, the second time making it 66-64 on Devon Collier's lay-in with 1:24 remaining. Woolridge's free throw made it 69-64 with 51 seconds left.
Washington State had a 39-27 rebounding edge, including 10 from Shelton to go with six assists. The Cougars shot 25 of 56 overall, while Oregon State was 26 of 55.
"There were still opportunities for us to win the game in spite of everything that was going on," Robinson said. "Pretty much, that's all you can ask for."
Collier and Roberto Nelson had 14 points apiece for the Beavers, who were trying to sweep Washington and Washington State in a weekend set for the first time since 2005.
Ladd hit from outside to put Washington State up 11-7, the Cougars' biggest lead of the first half. Oregon State answered with an 8-0 run — including two Starks 3-pointers — to go up by four.
Ladd later hit a layup with 4:24 remaining to reach 17 points for the half and cut the Beavers' lead to 23-21.
"He had a lot of hustle buckets," Starks said of Ladd. "It was tough. He was just really active."
Nelson hit a deep 3-pointer in transition as time expired in the half to put Oregon State ahead 33-29. Ladd shot 7 of 8 in the first half, including one 3-pointer. His teammates were a combined 4 of 18.