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January 8, 2010
This time, there no doubt. As sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto tossed up a soft shot with the game tied and less than two seconds remaining, the entire bench-bound members of the Washington State University men's basketball team stayed exactly there as Casto's shot rolled over the rim and into the hoop with one-tenth of a second remaining in the game. Learning from the Pac-10 officials' mistake in the last week's Oregon game, the Cougars' bench stayed rooted to their area and never came on the court until after the clock hit zero and Wazzu had their 78-76 victory over Arizona in Tucson. With the win, the Cougars improve to 12-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Wazzu got off to a quick start in the game, scoring the first four points and taking a 4-0 lead which they extended to 13-4. Arizona cut the lead back to five at 13-8 but the Cougars scored the next five points to push their lead out to 10 points at 18-1 - their largest lead of the game. The Wildcats, however, turned up the defensive intensity and came storming back with a 19-7 run to take the lead at 27-25. The two teams battled out the rest of the half and ended up tied at 35 going into the locker room. Sophomore sensation Klay Thompson led Wazzu in scoring at the break, with 11 points.
The second half began badly for the Cougars as the Wildcats continued their defensive intensity and that rattled the Cougars and created multiple turnovers as the Wildcats took a six point lead at 46-40. Wazzu settled down and responded with an 8-2 run that tied the game at 48-48 with 11:56 remaining in the game. The two teams once again battled back and forth with the Cougars taking a 56-54 lead with 9:41 remaining. From there, Wazzu was able to extend their lead to four at 62-58 as freshman point guard Reggie Moore began to find holes to exploit in the Wildcats' defense. The Cougars built it out to a seven-point advantage at 67-60 when Moore converted a three-point play. The Cougars were able to hold the seven-point lead for the next two minutes before Arizona closed the gap to four at 71-67 with 2:56 remaining in the game. The Cougars seemed to have the game wrapped up when senior Nikola Koprivica hit a trey to give Wazzu a 74-67 lead, but the Wildcats fought back to close the gap to one 75-74. Moore missed added a free throw to give the Cougars a 76-74 lead but Arizona tied the game at 76 with 13 seconds left. Wazzu brought the ball down the court and Moore passed off to Casto who tossed up a shot that crawled over the rim for the 78-76 lead with one-tenth of a second remaining. With last week's Pac-10 officiating debacle in the Oregon game still firmly in mind - the Cougar bench stayed well within their bench area and Arizona was unable to get a shot off as time ran out.
Three Cougars finished in double digits in scoring with Moore leading the way with 20 points, followed by Thompson with 19 points and Casto with 16 points.
Wazzu will continue Pac-10 conference play on Sunday, January 10 when they will face Arizona State at 11:30 AM in Tempe
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