Jan. 10, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- There is a little life left in Washington State, thanks to a pair of electric freshmen and a crafty senior.
And behind those three, the Cougars finally discovered how to pull one out in the second half.
Taylor Rochestie's running 10-footer with 17 seconds left provided the game-winning points, and then freshman DeAngelo Casto emphatically stuffed Anthony Goods' drive with 7 seconds remaining as Washington State snapped a three-game losing streak with a 55-54 win over Stanford on Saturday night.
Throw in 13 key points from freshman Klay Thompson, including a highlight-reel dunk destined for continuous replays in the coming days, and the Cougars rediscovered a winning formula.
The Cougars avoided the first four-game losing streak of coach Tony Bennett's career and also snapped a four-game losing streak on their home floor -- losses to Baylor, Gonzaga, Washington and California. On the night students began arriving back on campus for the new semester, Rochestie and his mates gave them something to cheer about.
"I kept telling them, 'You're close .... Let's just be who we are,'" Bennett said. "I said, 'Let's just be the best we can be. If we're going to be a low-scoring team, let's be the best grind-it-out team that we can and find ways to win.'"
Meanwhile, Stanford will head back to the Bay Area smarting from a pair of one-point losses. They dropped an 84-83 decision at Washington two nights earlier on Jon Brockman's putback with 4 seconds left, then saw Rochestie slice into an opening and cap his stellar night with a left-handed bankshot.
The Cardinal had one last opportunity when Goods dribbled into an open lane and a clear path appeared to the basket. But the athletic, long-armed Casto slid from the opposite block and stuffed Goods' attempt with 7 seconds left. Casto was fouled and badly missed both free throws, but the best look Stanford could get from that was Goods' forced attempt from 30 feet that was well short.
"Coach says you are what you continually do," said Stanford's Lawrence Hill, who finished with 15 points, as did Goods. "We are 1-3. That's what we are, the bottom of the Pac-10 just like they said we would be."
Stanford was picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 preseason poll, but darted to a 10-0 start before dropping three of its last four.
Coach Johnny Dawkins also might be doing some explaining for sitting starting forward Josh Owens the entire first half. Dawkins gave just a brief reason for the move, only saying that reserve Will Paul deserved the start.
"Will has been playing well. That is what this was about," Dawkins said.
Owens played 15 minutes in the second half and scored four points, but missed an open 2-foot hook shot with 29 seconds left that would have given Stanford a three-point lead.
"It wasn't his fault missing the layup," Hill said. "It was all of our faults."
Stanford seemed in complete control in the first half as Washington State went nearly 13 minutes without a field goal as the Cardinal built an 11-point advantage. Their lead was 30-22 at halftime after Rochestie's three-point play in the closing seconds of the half.
That only set the tone for the second half. Washington State charged immediately, getting buckets from Casto, Aron Baynes and a 3-pointer by Rochestie.
Then came Thompson's electrifying moment that capped a 12-2 spurt to start the half. Caleb Forrest dived to garner a loose ball, then rolled and passed to Thompson. With a three-on-one break developing, Thompson decided to keep it himself, elevating over Mitch Johnson for a thunderous two-handed dunk. Johnson was also called for a block and Thompson completed the three-point play to give WSU a 34-32 lead.
Thompson didn't score after his dunk.
"It felt great, obviously. There was a lot of adrenaline after that dunk and a big momentum shift too," Thompson said.
Landry Fields added nine points and Jeremy Green added eight off the bench for Stanford. But the Cardinal made just 7 of 22 shots in the second half.