Washington is one win away from opening Pac-10 play with four straight victories for the first time in 27 years.
With the way freshman Terrence Ross is playing, it’s looking like the team can achieve that feat.
Ross looks to build on a stellar performance and help the 23rd-ranked Huskies to a ninth straight win over Oregon State on Saturday night.
Playing its first game since losing starting point guard Abdul Gaddy to a season-ending left knee injury, Ross stepped up for Washington (11-3, 3-0) against Oregon on Thursday, finishing with a career-best 25 points in an 87-69 win.
Ross made 11 of 18 shots and also had four steals and four rebounds for the Huskies, winners of five straight and eight of nine.
“I’m getting more used to it. It’s a little faster now,” Ross said. “I’m just settling down and getting used to it, and not thinking so much.”
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar again had Ross come off the bench Thursday, but may consider moving him into the starting lineup. The 6-foot-6 Ross is averaging 16.7 points on 56.8 percent shooting during the Huskies’ first 3-0 start in league play in six seasons. He averaged 5.5 points on 41.8 percent shooting in 11 non-conference games.
“I wouldn’t have told you he’d average about 17 during Pac-10 play, I don’t know if we’ve had any freshman do that,” Romar said. “He’s given the coaching staff a lot of confidence in him.”
Ross now looks to lead Washington, which dropped three of its first four Pac-10 games last season, to its first 4-0 start in conference play since the 1983-84 team opened 6-0.
It has been almost that long since Oregon State last defeated a ranked team on the road.
The Beavers (7-7, 2-1) have lost 62 straight road games against Top 25 teams since beating then-No. 15 Washington 52-45 on Jan. 5, 1985. They’ve lost 27 in a row to ranked foes overall since defeating then-No. 24 Arizona on Jan. 12, 2006.
Oregon State also has lost eight straight to the Huskies since a 73-65 win Feb. 22, 2007. Washington has won the last seven meetings in Seattle since an 80-72 loss in 2003.
The Huskies defeated Oregon State 59-52 in the quarterfinals of last season’s Pac-10 tournament en route to the championship as Isaiah Thomas led a big second-half comeback and finished with 15 points. Thomas averages a team-high 15.8 points for Washington.
Oregon State is coming off an 84-70 loss to Washington State on Thursday. It was the first Pac-10 loss for the Beavers after sweeping the Arizona schools to start 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2004-05.
The Beavers fell behind by as many as 19 points against the Cougars, and coach Craig Robinson was encouraged they managed to cut the deficit down to four with 7 1/2 minutes left.
“Good teams weather the storm,” Robinson said. “We need to have a good start and play like we were playing in the middle of this game at the beginning to see if that changes things for them. I always think when guys play loose, they play better.”
Jared Cunningham had 18 points Thursday and is averaging 18.8 in his last five games - 4.7 better than his team-leading average.