WSU held off Sacramento State, 74-66, in its final non-conference game of the season on Wednesday to move to 7-5 as the Pac-12 opener awaits on Sunday against Washington.
The Cougars led by 10 points at the break and immediately extended that to 13 on a Charles Callison 3-pointer on the first possession. The lead was 14 points with just under 16 minutes to play in the game, and it appeared the Cougs were poised to cruise against the team ranked No. 322 by kenpom.com.
But the defense that has been alternately good and not good during most games was not good for most of the second half as the Hornets outscored the Cougars 27-11 over the next 12 minutes to take a two-point lead with 3:44 to play.
It wasn’t all bad; somewhere in there, Ike Iroegbu did this:
However, WSU — as it did against Santa Clara over the weekend — closed the game strong, this time with a 16-6 run that was fueled by a ton of free throws. In all, the Cougs hit 10 of their final 11 from the stripe in the final three minutes to keep the Hornets at bay.
Callison led WSU’s scorers with 16 points, while Ike Iroegbu put in 15. Malachi Flynn had 11 points and 4 assists, while Josh Hawkinson scored 8 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Marcus Graves led Sacramento State with 21 points.