Thompson benched to start game
SEATTLE — Quincy Pondexter had 29 points and 12 rebounds, recently ill Isaiah Thomas revived with 19 points while leading a runaway rally in the second half and Washington blew past cold, benched Klay Thompson and Washington State 92-64 on Saturday.
Thompson, the sixth-leading scorer in the nation at 22.3 points per game, was late to the Cougars’ team bus Friday to begin the cross-state trip to their rival. Former Huskies assistant Ken Bone, the Washington State coach, then put Thompson on the bench to begin Saturday’s game.
Thompson, who had started his first 53 games at Washington State, finished with seven points on Saturday, tying his season low. The sophomore didn’t make his second field goal until 3:31 remained. Washington led 85-59 by then.
The Huskies outscored the Cougars 56-24 after halftime.
Both teams are 14-7 overall and 4-5 in the Pac-10.
Thomas made three consecutive 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first 6:10 of the second half to turn Washington’s 40-36 deficit at halftime into a stunning, 57-43 lead.
Pondexter, the Huskies’ only senior, made 10 of 18 shots and finished two points off his career high set earlier this season. The defending Pac-10 champions won their second straight blowout following five losses in seven games that had sent them to the bottom of the jumbled conference standings.
Xavier Thames started for Thompson and scored 15 points. Nikola Koprivica scored 13 — 12 of them early as Washington State took brief command of a raucous game before losing its second consecutive game, and for the third straight time to Washington.
The afternoon included double technical fouls, players taunting opposing benches and sticking tongues out at their defenders after made baskets — and Thompson holding his arms out, shaking his head and yelling at himself during his worst game of a wondrous season.
Washington State missed its first 13 shots after halftime. That’s when Washington went bonkers.
The Huskies’ decisive 22-4 run — with none of the points from Pondexter — included a 3-pointer by Scott Suggs and a thunderous dunk by Matthew Bryan-Amaning, off a fake shot and pass by Justin Holiday that looked close to a traveling violation along the baseline.
That’s what Bone was yelling to the officials during the timeout he called for his Cougars to try and calm Washington’s roaring crowd.
Washington State’s Marcus Capers missed from point-blank range. Then Thomas, returning after missing Tuesday’s win over Seattle and three practices with a stomach illness, then made a 3-pointer from the wing and another while drifting into the Huskies’ bench. Washington suddenly led 54-41.
After DeAngelo Casto finally made Washington State’s first basket of the second half, with 13:05 left, Thomas swished another 3-pointer, this one from near NBA bonus range that had the Huskies up 58-43.
The lead got to 70-50 with 8 minutes remaining. Koprivica and then Thompson missed yet again to leave Washington State 2-for-20 from the field in the second half. Washington’s answers were a breakaway, two-handed jam from Pondexter and Thomas’ blow past WSU’s humbled Reggie Moore for an easy layup.
The Cougars stunned the Huskies by taking an 11-point lead after 5 minutes, but Thompson never got going. He finished 2 for 15 from the field after sitting out the first two minutes of each half.
Even with their star scorer stalled, the Cougars taunted the Huskies early. The most brash example came with 4 minutes remaining in the rugged opening half, when Moore, a freshman point guard from Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School, stole the ball in the backcourt, soared for a right-handed slam. Moore, who finished with 13 points, then flexed and glared at Washington’s bench and at former Huskies’ Pac-10 player of the year, Brandon Roy, who was sitting three rows back.
Washington State had a 31-28 lead at that point.
The Cougars led 40-36 at the half despite getting just five points from Thompson.
Then the star’s absence — and the Huskies — finally caught up to them.
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