After watching a season that started with so much promise slide into a last place finish in a mediocre Pac-10, Washington State fans had to suffer one final indignity -- losing yet another overtime game to Oregon, 82-80, to be the only Pac-10 team eligible for the postseason to not be invited to the eight-team party on Thursday.
It was a typical Oregon/WSU affair, with the Ducks being led by Tajuan Porter, who, despite only averaging about 12 points per game in the regular season, somehow managed to go off for 32 points -- which he always seems to do against WSU.
The Ducks have made a habit out of beating the Cougs in improbable fashion over the years, and this game was no different as E.J. Singler tipped in a wild Porter shot as the buzzer expired in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Also improbable? Washington State had multiple chances to seal the game down the stretch with free throws, only to miss them again and again and again -- they would shoot just 12-of-25 from the line for the game. The Cougars shot better than 71 percent on their free throws up until tonight's game.
It was a poetic end to a season in which an absurdly young WSU team -- there is only one senior on the roster and no juniors -- has seemed to repeatedly be just one or two plays short. The game was in the bag ... and then it wasn't.
The Ducks, meanwhile, have granted coach Ernie Kent a stay of execution with their win (he's reportedly already been told he's been fired). They'll face top-seeded Cal in the quarterfinals on Thursday, a mere 16 hours after the end of tonight's game.
Here's the full slate of games for Thursday (all times PST, all games broadcast on Fox Sports Net):
Thursday, March 11 - Quarterfinals
#4 Arizona vs. #5 UCLA, Noon
#1 Cal vs. #8 Oregon, 2:30 p.m.
#2 Arizona State vs. #7 Stanford, 6 p.m.
#3 Washington vs. #6 Oregon State, 8:30 p.m.