Men's Basketball | Cougars drop Huskies in 2OT, 76-73
Seattle Times staff reporter
PULLMAN — This was truly seven the hard way.
After coming back to force one overtime, and then another, the Washington State Cougars finally secured a sweet going-away present for a group of program-transforming seniors who were playing their final home game, beating the Washington Huskies 76-73 at Friel Court.
"What a memory they created for everyone," said WSU coach Tony Bennett after the Cougars beat the Huskies for a record seventh straight time in a wild affair that featured 10 ties, nine lead changes and no lead larger than six.
"It was the last one standing. Maybe we made one or two more big plays than they did. It was quite a rivalry and quite an ending."
One that seemed destined to favor the Huskies much of the night.
The Cougars never led the final 4:08 of regulation, nor during the first overtime.
But baskets by Robbie Cowgill — one of three WSU starters playing his final home game — in the closing seconds of regulation and overtime kept the Cougars alive.
And in the second OT, the Cougars finally subdued the Huskies, who had two players foul out and finished the game without forward Jon Brockman, who suffered a sprained ankle with 1:56 left. His status for the Pac-10 tournament this week is uncertain.
"I'm proud of our team," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar, who mostly lamented that the Huskies lost a season-high 22 turnovers, which he said may have cost his team the game. "There were many times we could have folded mentally and we didn't."
It wasn't over until a 28-foot three-pointer under pressure by Ryan Appleby hit the back of the rim and bounced away as the final seconds ticked off.
"It's like somebody sticks a knife in your heart right there," Appleby said. "It's tough to deal with."
UW (16-15 overall) ends Pac-10 play at 7-11 and in eighth place and will face Cal in the first round of the conference tournament Wednesday in Los Angeles. WSU (23-7) finishes 11-7 and in a tie for third with USC, which it swept during the season.
Washington State plays Oregon on Thursday in the second round of the Pac-10 tournament in Los Angeles.
The Huskies came in as nine-point underdogs but played inspired throughout, out-rebounding WSU 47-29 and holding a 15-2 edge in second-chance points through regulation.
But after trailing much of the first half, the Cougars scored the final 10 points to take a 30-26 lead at halftime.
WSU led much of the second half, but UW held the Cougars to just one field goal in the final 6:32 of regulation to regain the lead. Washington seemed poised to spoil the party as it held a 58-54 lead and the ball with less than a minute remaining. But Matthew Bryan-Amaning missed a short shot and a foul called on Quincy Pondexter on the rebound led to two free throws by Kyle Weaver, another of the Cougars' senior starting trio. Weaver led all scorers with 20 points.
Brockman then missed a layin under pressure with 25 seconds left and Cowgill followed with a layin on the other end with 14.4 seconds left. Cowgill was fouled on the play but missed a free throw. UW got the rebound and declined to call a timeout. But Justin Dentmon lost the ball as he was maneuvering for a shot.
"I just dribbled it off my foot," said Dentmon, who also thought he got grabbed on the play. "I was going to get to the free-throw line or get fouled."
Weaver grabbed the ball in the backcourt with about three seconds left and raced downcourt, putting up a running jumper as time expired that bounced off the rim, sending the game to overtime.
Washington led throughout the first overtime and again seemed in position to get the win when Brockman hit a free throw to put the Huskies ahead 67-65 with 32.7 seconds left and WSU's Taylor Rochestie followed by missing a three-pointer on the other end. But Cowgill got the rebound and put it in to tie the game with 5.8 seconds left.
Washington's Venoy Overton quickly drove the other way but was stripped of the ball by Weaver as time ran out.
Overton said, "There was a little contact, but I can't complain about that. That wasn't what lost the game for us."
The Cougars then scored the first four points of the second overtime to take the lead for good. WSU led 73-70 when Brockman went out, and the Cougars took a 76-70 lead before an Appleby three-pointer with 42.9 seconds left closed the gap.
After a WSU turnover, UW got one final chance but Appleby missed.
"I thought it was going to be the first time I ever beat them," Pondexter said. "And before you know it, it slips right out."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com
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