PULLMAN – It may have been Senior Day on Saturday, but for 44 minutes and 57 seconds, it wasn’t the seniors’ day.
Then Taylor Rochestie changed all that.
The senior point guard – 1 for 10 from the floor at the time – stepped back and drained a 28-foot 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Washington State Cougars to a 51-49 men’s basketball win over 14th-ranked Arizona State.
“I made my first shot of the game and my last shot of the game,” Rochestie said after taking a victory lap around the part of the 10,712 in attendance celebrating on Friel Court.
Rochestie’s first shot, a 24-footer, gave the Cougars a 5-0 lead. But, over the next 42 minutes, WSU’s third consecutive Pac-10 win turned into a slog-it-out defensive battle.
The Sun Devils overcame a six-point WSU lead with 5:47 left in regulation, finally tying it at 43 when James Harden connected on three free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining.
“Marcus said he kind of hooked him,” coach Tony Bennett said of the call on Marcus Capers that sent Harden, the Pac-10’s leading scorer, to the line.
It’s not as if the Cougars didn’t have chances to put away ASU (21-7, 10-6 and out of the running for a Pac-10 title) before then.
First Aron Baynes, a 78 percent free-throw shooter, missed the second of two shots that would have given the Cougars (16-13, 8-9) a four-point lead with 51 seconds left.
Then, after a Harden miss, Rochestie, a 90.4 percent free-throw shooter, was fouled on the other end. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Overtime started with Derek Glasser nailing a contested 3-pointer, Rochestie missing one and Klay Thompson, who led WSU with 17 points and seven rebounds, bricking the front end of a 1-and-1 with 3:27 left.
But it was Harden who had fouled him. It was his fifth and, though he had struggled against the variety of defenders WSU threw at him, he’s ASU’s main threat.
“He didn’t play one of his best games,” ASU coach Herb Sendek said after the sophomore finished with 13 points on 2-of-11 shooting and 7 of 10 from the line.
“He’s such a good player, but I think we were real physical and we out-toughed him,” Nik Koprivica said.
Without Harden, his former high school teammate Derek Glasser tried to take over, scoring all six of ASU’s overtime points, including a 3-pointer with 1:26 left for a 49-48 lead.
Rochestie then missed a drive he usually makes and knocked the rebound out of bounds.
But he would get another chance.
After Baynes came up with a Sun Devils turnover with 13 seconds left, he gave it to Rochestie, who rushed into frontcourt. He passed to Capers, then got it right back.
“I just wanted to make a play,” Rochestie said. “First I looked to drive. I felt some of our players, some of their players were stagnant but kind of blocking the lane. Soon as I realized that, I kind of backed it out. I looked up to the clock, saw about 4 seconds, saw that I had a little cushion and let it go.”
Beasley Coliseum erupted. For the third consecutive year, WSU won on Senior Day, none of the games ending in regulation.
“I’m glad they left with that taste in their mouth, because that would have been a hard one had we not come away with it,” Bennett said of the ending for the five seniors honored before the game.
WSU 51, Arizona State 49
Percentages: FG .410, FT .615. 3-Point Goals: 9-16, .563 (Glasser 3-3, Kuksiks 2-6, Harden 2-4, McMillan 2-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 11 (Harden 2, Pendergraph 2, Kuksiks 2, McMillan, Glasser, Abbott). Steals: 2 (Abbott, Harden). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .389, FT .444. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Thompson 3-8, Rochestie 2-6, Harmeling 0-1, Capers 0-1). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 5 (Capers 2, Casto, Baynes, Forrest). Turnovers: 7 (Thompson 3, Forrest 2, Baynes, Casto). Steals: 3 (Rochestie 2, Thompson). Technical Fouls: None.
Halftime–Arizona State 23, Washington State 20. A–10,712.