LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jared Cunningham hit a go-ahead layup with 31.8 seconds left, and ninth-seeded Oregon State blew a 15-point lead in the second half before rallying for a thrilling 86-84 victory over top-seeded Washington on Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals.
Cunningham scored 18 points and hit two free throws with 6.2 seconds to play despite missing four additional free throws in the final 17.5 seconds. Devon Collier had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Beavers (19-13), who survived a crazy matchup with the league champion Huskies when Tony Wroten, Washington’s freshman star, couldn’t hit four late free throws of his own.
Wroten had a career-high 29 points in the highest-scoring performance by a Washington freshman, but the Pac-12’s top rookie clanked two free throws with 18.3 seconds left and two more with 8.7 seconds to play.
Cunningham, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, missed his final two tries with 2.3 seconds left, but the rebound went out of bounds off a Washington player, and Oregon State ran out the clock on an upset that should get the attention of coach Craig Robinson’s brother-in-law, President Barack Obama.
C.J. Wilcox scored 16 points and Terrence Ross added 15 for the Huskies (21-10), who might be consigned to the NIT after blowing a six-point lead in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Washington had won 16 of 20 to claim the Pac-12 title, but the Huskies lost in the tournament quarterfinals as a No. 1 seed for the second straight time.
Washington, the two-time defending tournament champions, made a 22-3 run after falling behind 48-33 in the opening minute of the second half, but Oregon State finished on a 13-5 run. The Huskies could blame the loss squarely on free-throw shooting after going just 9 for 21 in the second half.
Cunningham led the Pac-12 in scoring this season, but managed just four points in the Beavers’ tournament-opening win over Washington State on Wednesday. He missed his first three shots against the Huskies, including an easy alley-oop layup on a fast break, but got going with a steal and a length-of-the-court drive for a dunk.
The Beavers outworked the Huskies throughout the first half, and Washington’s inability to hit open shots soon led to a deficit. Ahmad Starks, who hit four 3-pointers in the opening minutes Wednesday, hit a 3-pointer to put Oregon State up 34-25 on the Huskies with 4:28 left in the first half.
Oregon State made a 21-7 run late in the half, and Burton’s tip-in with 5.5 seconds left sent the Beavers into halftime with a 46-33 lead, earning a standing ovation from their small but boisterous group of fans including former NBA stars Gary Payton and A.C. Green.
Washington fell behind by 15 in the opening minute of the second half, but got rolling with a boost from Gaddy, the Huskies’ junior playmaker. The assists specialist scored eight points in a three-minute span while the Huskies took charge, thrilling their larger fan contingent.
Washington took a 59-54 lead on Ross’ jumper with 10:41 to play, nursing the advantage until Cunningham got rolling in the final minutes. Starks hit his fourth 3-pointer with 59 seconds left to trim Washington’s lead to 83-82, and Cunningham put Oregon State ahead moments later.