MOSCOW, Idaho – Reggie Moore calmly buried a 20-foot jumper with what turned out to be 0.9 seconds left, lifting Washington State to a 66-64 nonconference basketball victory over the University of Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum on Wednesday night.
With the score tied at 64 following Landon Tatum’s 5-foot jumper over Moore with 23.5 seconds left, WSU coach Ken Bone called time out.
“We tried to run a (play) and DaVonté (Lacy) got it … and he made the right decision,” Bone said. “Nothing was there so he got it back to Reggie, they cleared out of the way and let Reggie make a play.”
The junior, in the midst of his most aggressive offensive game of the season, did just that.
“I was open and Charlie (Enquist) hit me,” Moore said, “and I think I took one or two dribbles left and I just pulled up.”
Despite Deremy Geiger’s best defensive efforts, Moore’s jumper fell through as the clock expired.
“I felt like we had that shot pretty well guarded,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said, adding he was actually worried Geiger had fouled Moore.
He hadn’t. But the officials checked the video replay and put 0.9 seconds on the clock. The Vandals tried to entice D.J. Shelton – back after a one-game suspension – into a foul on the inbounds play, failed and finally had to settle for Tatum’s half-court heave that missed everything.
“I thought we played hard, hard enough to win,” Verlin said after the Vandals dropped to 4-4. “But when it came time to make the winning play, they did.”
And he knew Moore was the guy to do it.
“He’s an all-Pac-12 type of player,” Verlin said, “and he made the shot.”
With the Cougars still without three key players – Abe Lodwick (foot), Mike Ladd (thumb) and Faisal Aden (concussion) – Moore was attacking from the opening tip. He finished 7 of 17 from the floor (1 of 6 beyond the arc) for a team-high 15 points along with seven assists and just three turnovers.
The Cougars finished with 14 turnovers after having six in the first seven minutes.
“I do think the guys tried to take care of the ball tonight,” Bone said, “but early on we were very careless.”
WSUmoved to 5-4 with its third consecutive win.
With the Cougars taking care of the ball, it moved out to a 35-25 halftime edge, with only the 11 points from UI’s Stephen Madison – he finished with 18 on 7-of-10 shooting – keeping the Vandals within shouting distance.
They pulled within a whisper of the lead midway through the second, tying the game at 45.
Though the Vandals had the momentum, they still trailed because they couldn’t keep WSU off the glass. The Cougars won the rebound battle (31-25) for the fourth consecutive game, with Enquist grabbing eight and Marcus Capers adding seven.
Dijm Bandoumel, who didn’t make the Vandals last road trip because, Verlin said, he hadn’t been giving the effort needed in practice, came off the bench in the second half and scored nine points, all around the rim.
“We were pretty fortunate,” Bone said. “In the second half (Idaho) came out with more energy. They just outplayed us the second half.”
But after pulling even at 45, the Vandals turned the ball over on four of five possessions and WSU stretched the lead back to seven at 54-47. The lead was down to five – 64-59 – with 1 minute, 42 seconds left, when Geiger nailed a 3-pointer over Dexter Kernich-Drew, who had down the same just a minute earlier.
“They are tough with the guards, they set screens then they come off screens straight-away, so you have to turn your head and run with them again,” said Kernich-Drew, who, along with Patrick Simon, was given more time off the bench due to the Cougars’ injuries. The duo split 16 points, hitting 4 of 8 3-point attempts, as WSU made 7 of 21.
With a two-point lead and less than a minute left, Moore tried to attack Geiger with the dribble and a pull-up jumper. The senior guard stripped him, grabbed the ball and was fouled. That led to Tatum’s tying jumper. But WSU had time – and Moore.
“I told Dexter if you give me the ball, I’ll make it,” said the junior, who until this year usually served as a conduit for Klay Thompson late in games. “I really don’t care where. As long as I get it, I’m good.”