Oregon State's lone visit to Washington this season could be as close as Seattle fans get to experiencing the glory days of the SuperSonics again.
Seated courtside next to one another Thursday night were Sonics legends Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. The duo reconnected to watch their sons, Oregon State guard Gary Payton II and Washington forward Shawn Kemp Jr., face one-another in college for the first time.
Though Washington pulled away from Oregon State for a 56-43 victory, both the younger Kemp and Payton enjoyed moments of individual glory.
Payton stuffed the box score by delivering four points, eight rebounds, four blocks and one emphatic dunk over Washington's Andrew Andrews. Kemp posted six of his eight points in the first half including the Huskies' first two baskets of the game.
The presence of the elder Payton and Kemp in the crowd made it tough for Washington fans to focus on the game itself. Washington students serenaded Payton and Kemp with chants of "Save Our Sonics" midway through the first half and lined up for autographs and pictures afterward.
Such interest is no surprise since Kemp and Payton formed one of the great duos of the 1990s, the Reign Man throwing down powerful dunks and the Glove feeding his teammate lobs and playing stifling on-ball defense. Neither of their sons have shied away from comparisons to their fathers even if they're not quite the same caliber of player.
Kemp, a rugged power forward, has blossomed into a productive starter after choosing to attend college in the same city where his dad is a basketball icon. He endured taunts and jabs growing up because of his dad's proclivity for producing children out of wedlock, but he has forged a stronger relationship with the elder Kemp since joining the Huskies.
Payton, a do-it-all guard, has followed in his dad's footsteps by attending Oregon State and answering to the nickname "the Mitten." The junior college transfer leads Oregon State in three major categories in his first season with the Beavers, from scoring (12.3 ppg) to rebounding (8.9 rpg) to steals (2.9 spg).
Both Kemp's and Payton's teams were headed in different directions prior to Thursday's meeting.
Washington had lost four in a row after an 11-0 start, but snapped that streak against the Beavers behind 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks from center Robert Upshaw. Oregon State fell in its first game since it upset Arizona last Sunday and also lost top reserve Victor Robbins to a 10-game suspension.
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