This time, DeAngelo Casto's game-winning shot actually counts as a game winner.
After Solomon Hill tipped in Nic Wise's game-tying attempt with 13 seconds left, the Cougars needed a big shot to avoid reaching their fourth overtime period in four games. Casto delivered.
With 0.1 seconds left Casto drained a twisting, close-range shot, off an assist from Reggie Moore in the lane. Ken Bone restrained the entire Cougar bench and WSU left Arizona with a clutch 78-76 win in the desert, improving to 2-1 in conference.
This win is huge for WSU. A two-game losing streak to the Arizonas would have left the Cougs at 1-3 in conference following one of the easier home stands of the year. Now, having earned at least a split in the series, WSU can head into Tempe with nothing to lose against Arizona State, a team that handled Washington easily earlier tonight.
For a young team, the Cougs have displayed some remarkable resiliency. Coming back from the heartbreaking Oregon loss, they've taken care of both Oregon State and now Arizona with key plays down the stretch. The difference between a good young team and a bad young team is often the ability to win close games - the Cougs have now won 3 of the last 4 close games and proven that a rookie point guard named Reggie Moore knows what to do in crunch time.
Last year, it was a more experienced set of Cougars that fell apart in Tucson, after the Wildcats made a big run to open the second half. This year, the Cougs stayed in it until the end. This despite blowing an early double-digit lead, and a late seven point lead following Nikola Koprivica's three to put WSU up 74-67 with 2:19 to play. After Arizona tied the game WSU found themselves in all too familiar territory. Only this time, WSU emerged with the W.
The difference maker in this game turned out to be rebounding. WSU netted a 34-22 advantage on the glass and was especially prolific on the offensive end. The Cougs needed every bit of it to overcome an embarrassing turnover rate, particularly in the first half. Combine that with a slight advantage in shooting and free throw rate, and the result is a rare win for the Cougars in a hostile McKale Center.
Player of the Game: Has to be Reggie Moore. A career high 20 points, the game winning assist and a 10 for 14 performance from the free throw line. We'll forgive the six turnovers for now.
Unsung Hero(s): Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto. How good were the Cougars' big three tonight? Klay netted 19 points on 7 of 15 shooting with 8 boards and 4 assists. Not to be outdone, D grabbed 9 boards (6 offensive) and scored 16 points on 50% shooting. He also had the...
Play of the Game: Reggie Moore dishes to Casto for a slightly off-balance shot in the lane, winning the game with a tenth of a second left.
It was over when... See above.
Stat of the Game: WSU had twice as many offensive rebounds (12) as Arizona (6). DeAngelo Casto by himself tied the Wildcats in that category.