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Josh Hawkinson, Cougars hold off Rice in Alaska

Nov. 28, 2014 Updated Fri., Nov. 28, 2014 at 7:14 p.m.

Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Josh Hawkinson had a career-high 27 points, and Washington State beat Rice 76-74 in the consolation round of the Great Alaska Shootout on Friday. Ny Redding’s free throws with 1:33 left put Washington State (2-3) up 70-62. But WSU made only four of its next eight free throws and Rice (1-4) closed within 74-72. DaVonte Lacy answered with a pair of free throws with 9.1 seconds left and the Owls scored their last bucket too late to matter. Lacy was 9 of 9 from the free-throw line and finished with 15 points. Dexter Kernich-Drew added 12 and Hawkinson was 11 of 18 from the field with eight rebounds in 37 minutes. Hawkinson has emerged as a key contributor for the Cougars after averaging only 1.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 6.4 minutes in his freshman season. Washington State coach Ernie Kent credited Hawkinson’s increased production to his versatility and emphasized the need to increase the tempo to get him better looks. “He’s playing superb basketball,” Kent said. “He gets soft jumpers, a ton of rebounds. He can score in so many ways… setting screens, the pick-and-pop. And that’s why we need to play up and down the floor. It frees him up.” The Cougars opened the game on a 12-0 run and led by as many as 17 on their way to a 39-33 halftime lead. Seth Gearhart led Rice with 22 points, Marcus Jackson scored 14, Max Guercy 11 and Dan Peera 10.
Night and day
With a late night tipoff in the tournament opener Friday night, Washington State opened the game 1 of 16 from the field. With a day tipoff against Rice on Saturday, the Cougars opened 11 of 17 from the field.
Rice: The Owls erased a 15-point deficit before falling in overtime against Mercer on Friday night. They came two points short of erasing a 17-point deficit against Washington State. Washington State: Hawkinson broke the career high of 26 he set against Idaho State on Nov. 21 in the Cougars’ first win of the season.
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