In front of a near-empty arena, the Washington State University men's basketball team tried to discover if the third time was a charm but instead found out that it was a nightmare as they lost to the Oregon Ducks for the third time this season. This time, it was 82-80 in a first round Pac-10 tournament game in Los Angeles. With the loss, the Cougars end their season at 16-15 overall.
The first half was a tale of two runs. Wazzu opened the game with a 9-3 run and kept the margin briefly at six points when sophomore guard Marcus Capers threw down a baseline dunk for an 11-5 lead with 17:24 left in the half. The Cougars held the lead for a few more minutes and extended it to seven at 22-15 when Capers hit another bucket. Oregon then blitzed the Cougars with a 13-0 run to take a 28-22 lead before sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto was able to break the Cougars' scoring drought. However, the Ducks held the lead and took a 37-32 advantage into the locker room after sophomore guard Klay Thompson hit a trey to end the half with 11 points for Wazzu.
Wazzu tied the game at 37-all within two minutes into the second half but Oregon reeled off a 10-0 run minutes later and was in control for much of the second half. Wazzu closed to within five points at 51-46 when Thompson hit a three-ball but Oregon extended the lead to 10 at 62-52 and that is when Thompson and senior Nikola Koprivica came alive. Thompson hit two treys and Koprivica scored eight consecutive points to fuel a 14-6 run that gave Wazzu the lead at 69-68 with 3:03 remaining in the game. The Cougars extended their lead to three when Casto blocked a shot and Koprivica threw the ball ahead to Capers for a dunk. But both Koprivica and true freshman point guard Reggie Moore missed crucial potential game-clinching free throws in the final seconds, allowing Oregon to tie the game with a tip-in as time expired in regulation play.
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In the overtime period, the Ducks took a quick four-point lead but Wazzu stormed back to take a 78-76 lead only to have missed free throws again cost them a winning opportunity. Casto and Moore both missed critical free throws in overtime and with Oregon leading, Moore took the last desperation shot attempt that bounced off the back rim.
Five Cougars were in double figures in scoring, led by Thompson with 20 points and followed by Capers with a career-high 16 points, Brock Motum with a career-high 14 points and Casto and Koprivica adding 10 apiece.
- The Cougars missed 13 free throws in the game.
- Koprivica scored all his points in the second half and overtime.
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