Welcome to the Pac-10. The Washington State University men's basketball team successfully negotiated the non-conference portion of their schedule but were unable to defeat an inconsistent Pac-10 officiating crew in their first conference game of the season. Sophomore DeAngelo Casto scored what appeared to be the game-winning shot in the first overtime against Oregon, but Pac-10 officials assessed a technical foul on the celebrating Cougar bench, who had spilled out on the floor, allowing the Ducks to tie the game and send it into a second overtime period. In that second overtime, Oregon scored the winning lay-up with less than a second remaining but Pac-10 officials refused to call the same technical foul on the celebrating Oregon bench, some of whom had spilled out on the floor as well. The inconsistent officiating decisions were the difference in the game and gave the Ducks the improbable victory gift, in 91-89, in double overtime at Beasley Coliseum. With the loss, the Cougars drop to 10-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
It was a slow start for the Cougars as they managed only two points through the game's first five minutes of play and allowed Oregon to build a 10-point lead at 12-2. Wazzu cut the Ducks' lead down to four at 16-12 when senior Nikola Koprivica hit a trey. Oregon kept the Cougars at bay though as they could get no closer than four points. With Oregon leading 22-18, the Ducks went on a 12-1 run that sealed the first half lead for Oregon. Wazzu closed the gap under double digits at 36-27, only to have a defensive letdown with six-tenths of a second remaining in the half and allow the Ducks a length-of-the-court pass to score to lead by 11 going into the locker room at halftime. Oregon shot 62% in the first half while the Cougars shot an abysmal 29%.
The second half began much better for Wazzu as, after Oregon scored the first four points, the Cougars went on a 10-0 run to cut the Ducks' lead to 42-37. But Oregon once again pulled away and built a double digit lead up to 13 at 52-39. Wazzu responded with yet another 10-0 run to close the gap to three at 52-49 on a three-ball from sophomore sensation Klay Thompson. From there, the Cougars kept it close and tied the game on a lay-up from true freshman point guard Reggie Moore at 62-62 with 2:49 left. Oregon re-took the lead with a trey but Thompson tied it up again with three free throws. Tied at 65, the Cougars tried for the last shot to win the game in regulation but Moore tossed up an airball and Oregon missed their last heave at the hoop with 1.8 seconds remaining.
In overtime, Wazzu grabbed their first lead of the game when Moore converted a fast-break lay-up and pulled away to a five-point lead at 72-67 but were unable to hold off the Ducks, who came back to tie the game at 78. Sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto seemingly won the game for Wazzu when he made a lay-up with three-tenths of a second left to give the Cougars an 80-78 lead. But the officiating crew called a technical foul on the Cougars' bench for coming out on the court after the basket and Oregon tied it up with a pair of free throws.
In the second overtime, Oregon scored on a lay-up with five-tenths of a second remaining to go up, 91-89, but Pac-10 officials did not call a technical foul on Oregon players jumping on the court and the Ducks were given the victory. Thompson finished with 33 points for the game.
Wazzu will continue Pac-10 conference play on Saturday, January 2 when they will face Oregon State at 4 PM at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman.
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