The Washington State Cougar men's basketball program enjoyed a brief run of success against Arizona – sweeping the Wildcats last year for the first time in 24 years – but that run came to an unceremonious end tonight as the Wildcats upset the 6th-ranked Cougars 76-64 in Tucson behind 57% shooting from beyond the three-point arc. The loss drops WSU to 16-2 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-10.
Unlike recent games, the Cougars got off to a strong start in the first half, building a 9-5 lead going into the first timeout a little over four minutes into the game. From there the two teams played even throughout the next few minutes until Arizona re-took the lead on a three-pointer from Jawann McClellan at 19-18. with 9:29 remaining in the half. The Wildcats would never look back as they held a slim lead for most of the remainder of the half and then kept the Cougars at bay until halftime – taking a 34-31 lead into the break. Wazzu rode the hot hands of redshirt junior forward Daven Harmeling, who hit all three of his shots for eight points and senior guard Kyle Weaver, who went four-of-six from the field for eight points.
In the second half, junior center Aron Baynes came alive and Wazzu briefly pulled back within two at 37-35 after "Big Daddy" scored on consecutive possessions for the Cougars. Weaver also tried to bring the Cougars back into the game, but Arizona, on torrid outside shooting that saw the Wildcats make 12 of their 21 three-point shot attempts, pulled out to a double-digit advantage at 68-50 as WSU's characteristic tough defense was unable to deal with the Wildcats' overall quickness in creating open shots. During a brief lull in the Wildcats' shooting, WSU was able to pull back a few points of the lead but was never able to get the margin lower than the final score.
Harmeling wound up contributing 13 points for the Cougars and "Big Daddy" Baynes led the team with six boards.
The Cougars will next play Arizona State at 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 26 in Tempe.
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