Cougars hold on for win
20-point lead melts, but Moore golden at line
PULLMAN – The Washington State Cougars must have enjoyed Thursday night’s script. Enough, in fact, to put on a repeat performance Saturday.
Only this time, the Cougar men’s basketball team played the role filled two days earlier by California, which in the closing credits was listed as “victor.”
In the sequel, WSU built a 21-point first-half lead, frittered away all but two of it down the stretch but held on to defeat Stanford 77-73 in front of a matinee crowd of 8,148 in Beasley Coliseum.
Just two nights earlier, the Cougars had fallen behind by 20, rallied to pull within four but finally fell by five. And that frenetic rally may have played a part in Saturday’s near disaster.
“We looked fatigued,” said Washington State coach Ken Bone of a second half in which Stanford, behind the combined 29 of Landry Fields and Jeremy Green, scored 47 points. “And I understand a couple of these guys should be fatigued.”
Bone singled out Klay Thompson as an example of that weariness, noting Thompson played 37 minutes and “at some point you’re going to wear down, especially the way teams guard him.”
Thompson, tops in the Pac-10 at 22.7 points per game coming in but shooting just 35.8 percent from the floor in conference, played extended minutes partly because he rediscovered his shooting stroke, especially as WSU built a 46-26 halftime edge.
The sophomore was 7 of 11 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, hit three long-range jumpers and had 17 points at intermission. He finished with 27 points and three blocked shots, part of a WSU season-high 10.
“He got going early,” said Fields, the conference’s No. 2 scorer who finished with 18 points. “When someone’s hot and confident like that, no matter what you do it’s hard to stop him.”
Stop him, no, but Stanford (8-9 overall, 2-3 in Pac-10 play) slowed down Thompson – and all the Cougars – in the final 20 minutes, most notably from long range. Thompson missed all four 3-pointers he took after halftime as WSU was 0 for 7.
“We made some adjustments in the second half and fought and clawed our way back into the game,” said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins.
After Green (24 points, including 16 in the second half) and Fields rallied Stanford in the final 8:53 – WSU led 64-47 at that point – it was Reggie Moore who kept the Cardinal at bay.
“At the end of the day, even when he doesn’t play well, he’s good enough to have out on the floor and help us win,” Bone said of the freshman point guard, who was 1 of 5 from the floor and had six assists – all in the first half – and four turnovers.
With 50.3 seconds left and Stanford within 70-66, Moore hit 1 of 2 free throws. From there he was perfect on his final six, and, when Green and Fields each missed in the final 16 seconds – they were only 15 of 39 from the floor combined as Stanford shot 35 percent – WSU moved within a game of first place in the muddled Pac-10.
With the 20-point lead, the Cougars (13-5, 3-3) started the second half by coughing up the ball twice, taking a quick shot and failing to get back in transition. The result was the Cardinal scored six quick points and gained confidence.
At the 7:50 mark Bone got his second technical of the season when he slapped the scoring table with both hands. The Cardinal turned it into a five-point possession, cutting a 15-point lead by a third.
WSU 77, Stanford 73
Percentages: FG .353, FT .889. 3-Point Goals: 9-25, .360 (Green 5-14, Shiller 2-6, Fields 1-3, Harris 1-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 1 (Fields). Turnovers: 10 (Mann 4). Steals: 7 (Fields 3). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .510, FT .769. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (Thompson 3-10, Koprivica 2-4, Moore 0-2, Lodwick 0-1). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 10 (Thompson, Casto 3). Turnovers: 13 (Moore 4). Steals: 2 (Thames 2). Technical Fouls: Team.
Halftime–WSU 46, Stanford 26.