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Cougars top Wildcats

Thu., Feb. 26, 2009, 8:03 p.m.

PULLMAN — Taylor Rochestie scored 17 points as Washington State put together a huge second half to beat Arizona 69-53 on Thursday night and keep alive the Cougars’ postseason hopes.

Klay Thompson added 16 points and Caleb Forrest 15 for Washington State (15-13, 7-9 Pac-10) which beat a major nemesis for the second consecutive game. The Cougars upset UCLA on Saturday, winning at Pauley Pavilion for only the second time in their history.

Nic Wise scored 19 points to lead Arizona (18-10, 8-7), which lost its second game in a row.

Washington State shot nearly 70 percent in the second half and opened that half with a 21-6 run to beat the Wildcats for only the fourth time in the past 48 games. The Cougars outscored Arizona 43-24 in the second half.

Washington State, which leads the nation by allowing only 55 points per game, held Arizona 19 points below its season average of 72. Chase Budinger, who averages nearly 18 points, scored just nine on three of 11 shooting.

After trailing by three at halftime, Washington State’s explosive second-half opening, including six points by Forrest, gave it a 47-35 lead with 10 minutes left. The Cougars made eight of 13 shots in the run, while Arizona was making just two of 12.

Rochestie sank two 3-pointers during an 11-4 run that gave WSU a 63-47 lead that buried the Wildcats.

Wise scored nine points as Arizona jumped to a 17-11 lead during a ragged first half. Washington State missed its first five shots, but managed to get within 20-16 on Rochestie’s second 3-pointer of the game. The Wildcats scored seven straight for a 27-16 lead.

Forrest scored seven consecutive WSU points and the Cougars closed with a 10-2 run to cut Arizona’s lead to 29-26 at halftime. Wise, who averages 14 points per game, scored 15 in the first half.

The Cougars shot just 28 percent in the first half, including three of 13 3-pointers, while Arizona was shooting 47 percent.

Arizona still leads 24-7 in games played in Pullman, last losing here in 2007.

Jordan Hill added 15 points and nine rebounds for Arizona.

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