Nov 23, 2003
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Marcus Moore scored 20 points to lead Washington State to a 57-51 victory over Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday night in the semifinals of the BP Top of the World Classic.
Moore shot 8-for-19 from the field and limited Nanooks' leading scorer Brad Oleson without a second-half field goal until just 3:41 remained in the game. It was the 20th time in his career Moore has scored 20 or more points.
Moore's steal and layup gave the Cougars (2-0) their biggest lead of the first half at 13-5 with 14:29 remaining. Oleson countered with a 3-pointer and sparked a 13-2 run that gave the Nanooks an 18-15 lead.
A baseline jumper by Oleson pushed the lead to 27-21 with 6:08 remaining, and the Division II Nanooks, the defending tournament champs, led 30-26 at the break.
Moore and Thomas Kelati, who finished with 14 points and shot 4-for-8 from 3-point range, led the way for the Cougars in the second half.
A free throw by Chris Schlatter broke a 44-all tie with 8:09 remaining and gave Washington State the lead for good.
"We have miles to go," WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett said. "But to get a win in a tight game will help our basketball team."
Bennett became the first WSU head coach to begin his Cougar career 2-0 since Len Stevens in 1983-84.
The win snapped a 27-game road losing streak for the Cougars. WSU's last win on the road prior to Saturday was 58-57 at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001.
Moore scored off an assist from Kelati, who followed with a 3-pointer for a 51-44 lead with 4:13 remaining.
The Nanooks closed within 51-48 on Oleson's baseline basket with 2:52 remaining, but Washington State closed out the game with free throws.
Oleson shot 4-for-5, including two 3-pointers, in the first half, but hit just three field goals in the second half and finished with 18 points.
Alaska Fairbanks shot 52 percent in the first half and just 26 percent in the second. The Cougars held UAF to three field goals during the final 10:59.