Washington State (9-12, 2-7 Pac-12) ignored a six-game losing streak to their cross-state rival Washington (13-9, 5-4 Pac-12), defeating the Huskies for just their second conference win this season.
FINAL: WSU 72 – UW 67
It was the return of DaVonté Lacy which proved to be the much-needed boost to the lackluster offense plaguing WSU since he was benched by a rib injury a couple of weeks ago. Lacy was rusty, but his gutty performance clearly inspired his teammates to elevate their game.
This hardwood battle was a see-saw affair throughout the entire first half. Neither team was able to mount a sustained run to seize control.
D.J. Shelton was a one-man attack-dawg at both ends of the court for the Cougs, dominating the boards while knocking down shot after shot.
For the first time this season, the Cougars were able to enjoy a home court advantage. The student section was filled with enthusiastic Zzu Cru supporters critical to a team which came into this contest on a four-game losing streak in Pac-12 play. Twice the size of the typical crowd, it was the 6th man spirit which fueled Washington State to bring their “A” game and play up to their potential.
No question Lacy wasn’t at his best most of the first half, missing his first seven shot attempts. And no question his presence in the game was the difference. DaVonté was effective on the defense while forcing the Huskies to account for him when the Cougs had the ball.
The first half of play flowed without interruption by the officials. A total of just 11-fouls where called evenly with the UW wining that competition 6-5. As the two clubs headed to their respective locker rooms at halftime, the scoreboard displayed a 2-point lead for the visitors 27-25.
A Jordan Railey dunk to begin the final 20-minutes of play tied the game at 27-27 before Washington showed more energy than the Cougs. The Huskies raced out with the next 7-points to establish their largest lead of the game at 34-27.
WSU got up off the mat from the punches being thrown at them and worked their way back slowly, but surely. Check that. The Cougs counter punched the Dawgs with a 22-3 run of their own to take ultimate control of the contest.
This game wouldn’t have even been close were it not for Washington State proving why they are the worst free throw shooting team in the Pac-12. The Cougs made just 10 of 20 from the charity stripe down the stretch of this one. Against most teams in the conference, that wouldn’t have been good enough to preserve a win.
Shelton turned in a career night finishing with a career-best 18-rebounds, team-high 20-points and 4-steals. His performance was complimented by 15-points from Que Johnson and 10-points from Lacy.
Washington State will travel to Colorado next Wednesday to take on the Buffaloes in Boulder at 6:30pm. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.