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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Zags win 74-69


BULLDOGS, COUGARS

Gonzaga stormed back in the second half behind the play of senior Matt Bouldin and freshman Elias Harris to defeat Washington State 74-69 before 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. By overcoming a 15-point first-half lead, 17th-ranked GU (7-1) kept the Cougars (6-1) from becoming the first visiting team to win twice at McCarthey. Though it was Bouldin (28 points) and Harris (24) doing it on the offensive end, it was Steven Gray and Mangisto Arop who made the biggest difference, combining to hold Klay Thompson, the nation's leading scorer at 28.3 points coming in, to 15 points on 6 of 21 shooting. More on the link, so read on.


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• Though this Washington State team has picked up the pace offensively, the Cougars stayed in the game thanks to their defense. But the Zags started picking it apart in the second half, with Bouldin hitting from the outside (he finished 7 of 12 from beyond the arc) and Harris inside. The freshman was especially active, attacking the offensive glass after halftime – the Zags trailed on the boards by 11 at halftime but finished with 35 as opposed to WSU's 36. The Cougars still led, 56-43 with 12:07 left (on Thompson's 15 footer) but with Arop and Gray shadowing Thompson's every move, WSU couldn't find scorers down the stretch. As the Zags went on a 17-5 run to tie it at 63, only Thompson was able to score, with WSU turning it over three consecutive times at one point. Bouldin scored 11 of the GU points in that stretch, but it was Harris who tied it, scoring on a post move with 3:44 left. He also put the Zags ahead 65-64 by slipping a screen and scoring on a dunk with 3:17 remaining after Reggie Moore hit one of two free throws. From there WSU didn't score again until Thompson's putback with less than 20 seconds left and the Zags had pulled away.

The Cougars took control in the first half with a 12-0 run started by two DeAngelo Casto free throws at the 11:57 mark and ending with Thompson's 10-foot floater with 8:54 left before the half. Thompson's basket, one of only three he had before intermission (he was 3 of 9 as Gray denied him the ball even on the weak side, denied cuts and play aggressively when Thompson got the ball), gave WSU a 26-12 lead. The Cougars led 39-27 at the half though the Zags got within 10 often, including 30-20 with 3:55 remaining. But Thompson hit a 12-foot fallaway and Abe Lodwick canned a corner 3 – his only first half hoop – and WSU led by 15. When  Bouldin hit a 3 in transition with 45 seconds left, the lead was 10 again, but Casto followed a Thompson air-balled 3 and hustled down to contest Demetri Goodson's shot at the other end as time ran out. The Cougars, despite GU's height advantage, dominated the boards early on and held a 25-14 edge at halftime (WSU had 12 offensive rebounds) as Casto had seven. The Zags also shot just 34.8 percent against WSU's combination of man – a majority of the time – and zone – as much as a Cougar team has played in a few years. If it wasn't for Bouldin's 14 points (including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc), WSU's lead would have been even bigger. Eight Cougars scored, led by Casto and Xavier Thames, with eight.

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• That's it for now. We'll be back in the morning. Don't forget to check for Jim Meehan's story. Until then …



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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