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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Washington State edges Stanford

PULLMAN – With about seven minutes left in the duel between Chasson Randle and DaVonte Lacy that served as a proxy competition for the matchup between Stanford and Washington State, the Pac-12’s fifth-leading scorer began to defend its best point-getter. Lacy, in the middle of his own second-half scoring binge, approached his coach on the bench and told Ernie Kent that from that point forward he would be defending Randle. Stanford’s star had been on a points bender, scoring 15 of the Cardinal’s 18 points during one stretch. But Lacy’s change in priorities to defense was enough to stem Randle’s offense and allow the Cougars to escape with an 89-88 victory over the third-place team in the Pac-12. Randle finished with 33 points to Lacy’s 25, but the Cougars had five players finish with at least 10 points. Stanford fell from the Top 25 of the USA Today coach’s poll this week but is still receiving votes in both that ranking and the AP Top 25. Both Lacy and Randle did the bulk of their scoring during a torrid second half in which each team scored 47 points. Randle had nine points in the first half and Lacy had just five. “At a certain point I did say to myself, ‘Hey, he’s making big plays. He’s one of the best in the conference. If you think of yourself as one of the best in the conference you’ve got to do the same thing,’” Lacy said. WSU (10-11, 4-5 Pac-12) is now halfway through conference play and has matched last season’s win total and the Cougars already have one more conference win than they had last season. The Cardinal had won seven of the last 10 meetings between the teams, but had won in only five of their last 10 trips to Pullman. The win came in front of a crowd of 3,073 and ends a four-game losing streak for WSU. “Having done this for close to four years you realize that the season has so many ebbs and flows to it. It’s not like football where you have to hang your hat on every loss, every weekend. Sometimes you’ve got to weather some losses, some losing streaks, and sometimes you have an opportunity to find yourself in adversity,” said Lacy. While Lacy was the dominant player for WSU, it was freshman guard Ny Redding that saved the day. Taken out of the starting lineup for the first time since late November, Redding made two free throws with 5 seconds left to give the Cougars a four-point lead and render Dorian Pickens’ final 3-pointer moot. “If somebody would have pouted in that situation (of not starting), you know what they say about Karma because he would have gone to the line and choked up,” Kent said. “I was nervous,” Lacy admitted. “Because that is a pressure situation that you can’t recreate in practice – to essentially have the game one the line.” Que Johnson, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, replaced Redding in the starting lineup. Ike Iroegbu took over as the point guard with Redding off the floor and scored 14 points despite being limited to just 16 minutes by foul trouble. Johnson showed off a complete offensive array drawing fouls, draining 3-pointers and using pump fakes to freeze defenders mid close-out before driving to the rim for a pair of dunks. Officials whistled 50 fouls and sent the teams to the line for 76 combined free throw attempts. Neither team was spared from foul trouble and seven players finished with four or more fouls. Next week the Cougars will take to the road and attempt to sweep the season series with Oregon and split with Oregon State.