Feb. 27, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Done strutting and carrying his team, Isaiah Thomas turned and gave a little salute to the Washington State student section as he left the floor Saturday night.
Washington's diminutive guard got a different salute in return, the result of his play in the closing minutes that left the Cougars with a fourth straight loss to their rivals.
Thomas hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 of his 22 points during a crucial second-half stretch, and Washington squandered a 14-point halftime lead before winning 59-52.
With the Huskies (19-9, 9-7 Pac-10) trailing 44-41 after scoring just six points in 12 minutes, Thomas hit a tying 3-pointer. He followed with two free throws and, after a Scott Suggs 3-pointer, Thomas hit again from behind the arc to push the Huskies in front to stay at 52-48.
"Once you get those road wins, those are the best wins because you come together so much as a team. And it's all about team on the road," Thomas said. "... I'm 4-0 as a Husky playing the Washington State Cougars. I'm happy with that."
Thomas' big shots in the final 10 minutes were needed after Washington saw a 35-21 halftime lead disappear under a Cougars surge. An 18-4 spurt to start the second half pulled Washington State even, and its largest lead of three came after Xavier Thames' basket with 7:45 left.
That's when Thomas got going. His 3-pointer to tie was followed by a Scott Suggs 3-pointer to give Washington a 47-46 lead. Thomas' next shot beyond the arc pushed the lead to four, and he added two free throws with 3:18 left after a few words with WSU's DeAngelo Casto.
Thomas capped his night by racing ahead and converting a three-point play with 10 seconds left that sent the handful of purple-clad fans in Beasley Coliseum chanting "Whose house? Dawgs house!"
It was just the second road win of the season for the Huskies.
"Guys realize now how they have to bring it on the road," said Washington center Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Casto led Washington State (16-12, 6-10) with 19 points, tying his career high. But he got no help from leading scorer Klay Thompson, whose shooting slump continued.
Thompson missed his first eight shots before finally snapping an 0-for-20 streak with a 3-pointer with 13 minutes left that pulled the Cougars even, 39-39. Thompson missed all 12 shots on Feb. 20 against Southern California.
But instead of getting hot, Thompson saw his problems persist. He had three open shots in the final five minutes rattle around the rim and out. His layup with 1:09 left pulled WSU within 54-50, and Reggie Moore's two free throws with 20.4 seconds left got the Cougars within two.
Venoy Overton answered with a pair for Washington, and Moore was stripped, leading to Thomas' run-out basket to clinch the victory.
"I'm not a smart man, but what I tell Klay is to keep shooting. Get in the gym, get some shots up ... work on getting the offensive shots he needs to," Washington State coach Ken Bone said. "That's all I can do."
The game was reminiscent of the rivals' first meeting this year, when WSU led 40-36 at halftime, only to get rolled in the second half of a 92-64 Huskies rout.
This time, the Cougars rallied. Their run to start the second half was led by Casto, who scored nine points during the stretch. WSU took its first lead when James Watson's free throw rattled twice off the backboard and went in for a 42-41 advantage with 11:03 left.
It was the complete opposite of the first half, where WSU shot a miserable 18 percent and had more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six).
While WSU couldn't get started, Bryan-Amaning rolled, scoring 12 of Washington's first 19 points. While they weren't powerful baskets -- Bryan-Amaning was often tossing up off-balance attempts -- they were important points while Quincy Pondexter was slowed by early foul trouble.
Pondexter knocked down an NBA-length 3-pointer late in the half and followed with a jumper to push the Huskies' lead to 14. That advantage quickly evaporated in the second half before the Huskies rebounded.
"Our guys just put the chin straps on and a couple of guys hit some big shots ... we got some stops and we were able to preserve the victory," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "It was a tough one, but on the road, we'll take any victory."