Dec. 7, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP and staff sources) - Chris Crosby led all scorers with 20 points, while Jan-Michael Thomas added 17 and David Adams had 12 as Washington State overcame a halftime deficit to edge Portland 59-56 on Tuesday night.
Portland's Kevin Woodberry had a chance to send the game into overtime, but his 3-point attempt from the top of the key bounced off the rim as time ran out.
The Pilots (3-3) led 33-27 at intermission as Crosby kept WSU in the game with 14 first half points. His 20 for the game lifted his career point total to 995. He should become WSU's 22nd all-time 1,000 point scorer when the Cougars host No. 25 (ESPN/USA Today) Utah Saturday.
WSU trailed at the half for the second straight game but rallied behind Thomas, who hit three straight 3-pointers to start a 17-0 Washington State scoring run. The streak put the Cougars (4-2) ahead by eight points with 9:28 remaining.
Portland got within one point three times in the final minutes, and Washington State kept things close by missing three of five free throws in the last minute.
Travis Andrews led Portland with 12 points and Ryan Jones had 10.
Washington State's victory was its 45th consecutive homecourt triumph against a non-conference opponent. It is the second-longest such streak in the nation behind Maryland's 68 consecutive victories.
It was the first time WSU won a game when scoring less than 60 points since 1994 when the Cougars defeated Marquette 56-46 in the championship game of the San Juan Shootout.
Redshirt freshman forward Milton Riley returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game versus Southern with a bruised left thigh. However, Riley got into foul trouble and true freshman forward Bryan Whitehead was called on to play a career high 26 minutes and he responded with four points and a career-high nine boards.
Crosby had his consecutive free throws made streak snapped at 25 with a miss late in the game. He still leads WSU with a .917 clip from the charity stripe.
Sophomore guard Mike Bush led WSU in rebounding for the sixth straight game. He had nine versus the Pilots, one shy of his career high.
Thomas started at point guard after Cougars coach Paul Graham announced prior to the game's start that senior Blake Pengelly, the team's regular starting point guard, had left the team for personal reasons.
WSU goes for its 10th straight perfect home non-conference season Saturday against Utah. The contest will be televised live nationally by Fox Sports Net at 4 p.m. Pacific.