Stop me if you've heard this before: Cougars come back from 19-point deficit, only to prove unable to close the deal in a 64-62 loss.
WSU's season came to an end Wednesday when the Washington Huskies beat the Cougars for the third time this season, 64-62, in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament behind Scott Suggs' 19 points.
In so many ways, it was a fitting end to what has been a difficult campaign. The Cougars' offense, which was so efficient against UCLA and USC last weekend, struggled to score points for long stretches, just as it had so many times this year, and WSU fell behind by 19 points early in the second half. But -- again, as it had all season -- the team continued to play hard, and clawed its way back to tie the game at 62 on a Royce Woolridge layup with 2:50 to go.
They wouldn't score again.
D.J. Shelton and Brock Motum were the main catalysts in bringing the Cougars back level, as they each had 11 points during the 29-10 run. Motum finished with a game-high 28 points on 11 of 19 shooting -- 5 of 8 from three -- while Shelton contributed 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in what was likely the finest game of his career.
The pivotal sequence came after the Huskies took the lead on a Desmond Simmons jumper with just over a minute to go. Needing a bucket to tie, Woolridge turned the ball over by throwing a pass to nobody in particular directly out of bounds. After Abdul Gaddy missed an ill-advised three, Ken Bone called timeout to set up a play.
You don't even need to know the final score to guess how that turned out.
WSU was able to isolate Motum on Gaddy, and Motum tried one of his patented rip-the-ball-through 3-point attempts designed to draw a foul. Only Gaddy was having none of it, actively backing away from the shot. Motum's forced attempt was well off the mark, and the Huskies rebounded with 2.7 seconds remaining.
The Cougars were able to force the Huskies to take a timeout after they were unable to inbound the ball, but Washington came back with a deep pass to a streaking C.J. Wilcox, who was able to corral the ball with one hand and dribble out the clock.
WSU is eliminated from the Pac-12 Tournament and its season ends with a 13-19 record, 4-14 in conference. Maybe they should have just stopped after last weekend.