The Washington State University Cougar men's hoop team held UCLA under 30 points and took a comfortable eight point lead into halftime - but the Bruins scorched the Cougars for 51 points in the second half and UCLA claimed an 80-71 win over the Cougars in the Pac-10 opener for both schools in Los Angeles. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 0-1 in conference play and 10-3 overall.
The Cougars and Bruins entered the game as Pac-10 conference crown contenders and played like two teams battling for supremacy in the first half as neither team could establish their dominance over the other. Despite committing nine first half turnovers, Wazzu was finally able to grab their first lead of the game at 23-22 with 6:51 remaining in the half when junior guard Klay Thompson hit a three-ball. That came in the midst of a 15-0 Cougar run which gave them their largest lead of the game at 33-22. UCLA closed the gap slightly and Wazzu took a 37-29 lead into the locker room.
Then it all fell apart for the Cougars as the Bruins opened the second half with an 18-6 run and reclaiming a lead they would never again relinquish. Wazzu stayed within single digit striking distance of UCLA throughout much of the half as junior guard Faisal Aden helped out Thompson with scoring duties - but no other Cougar could consistently score and UCLA slowly pulled away for the final margin of victory.
Thompson and Aden were the only Cougars in double digits in scoring as Thompson scored a game-high 26 points and Aden chipped in 19 points. Sophomore point guard Reggie Moore and junior forward Abe Lodwick each had seven rebounds for the Cougars.
- The Cougars gave up 51 points in the second half - a season high - easily surpassing the previous high of 40 points.
Washington State University continues their Pac-10 season with a game against USC at 3PM on Friday, December 31, in Los Angeles
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