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WSU vs. Colorado basketball final score: Cougs survive Buffs in OT, 91-89

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Charles Callison pours in a career-high 30 points.

Oregon v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

The WSU Cougars blew a 10-point lead down the stretch but did enough in overtime to ride an uncharacteristically hot shooting performance to their third conference victory, a 91-89 win over Colorado in Pullman.

WSU improved to 10-9 and 3-4 in the Pac-12, while Colorado dropped to 10-10 and an almost-unbelievable 0-7 in conference play.

A Charles Callison midrange jumper gave WSU a 79-69 lead with 3:26 to go in regulation, and it appeared the Cougs had the game comfortably in hand thanks to an epically hot shooting night.

WSU entered the game as the worst 3-point shooting team in Pac-12 play, but today was an entirely different animal thanks to a couple of unlikely players: Callison and Viont’e Daniels, who combined to hit 10 of their 14 shots from beyond the arc.

On the whole, WSU was 13-of-26 from 3-point range, fueling an effective field goal percentage of 64, the Cougs’ highest of the season since blistering Montana to the tune of 68 percent.

Callison scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting without a trip to the free throw line. He did his damage from all over the floor; in addition to hitting six triples, he used an array of midrange jumpers and floaters to befuddle Colorado’s defense.

And at the point that the Cougs held that 10-point lead with just over three minutes to go, the Buffaloes had looked fairly listless overall, particularly on defense. Apparently, the Cougars felt the same way, as it seemed they took their foot off the gas just a tiny bit.

Desperate, Colorado ratcheted up the tempo on offense and pressure on defense. Derrick White, Colorado’s leading scorer who had been having a rough night, went on an absolute tear, hitting a couple of and-ones. The Cougs, meanwhile, did have a turnover in the run, but mostly just missed a bunch of shots.

Still, WSU had a chance to salt the game away with 17 seconds to go when Ike Iroegbu, a 70 percent free throw shooter, stepped to the line for a one-and-one. He missed the front end, and White wasted little time driving tot he basket, where he was fouled by Josh Hawkinson. He made both free throws.

The Buffs finished regulation on a 14-4 run, with 10 of those points scored by White. An NBA-range heave by Callison as the clock expired was short, and the game — improbably — went to overtime tied at 83.

The Cougs, perhaps a bit shell shocked by the fact that they were even needing to play five extra minutes, quickly fell behind by four points. But a couple of free throws by Iroegbu and a jumper by (who else?) Callison brought he Cougs back level at 87 apiece.

White made another jumper, but the Cougs answered back on a pretty little pick and roll by Hawkinson and Connor Clifford, which was drawn up in a timeout and resulted in Clifford being guarded by the thoroughly overmatched Xavier Johnson. Clifford laid it in, and we were tied again.

A major key heading to the game was the Cougars’ defensive rebounding, given Colorado’s penchant for creating second chances. While WSU wasn’t perfect, the Cougs battled hard, and it paid off on what would eventually become the game’s deciding play:

Maybe Iroegbu should have given it up to Callison but ... hey, can’t argue with that result!

The Buffs had one final chance, but White’s long 3-point heave with Callison in his face caromed off the rim, and the Cougars had survived for a nice, gut-check win.

Iroegbu finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 turnovers, while Callison added 5 steals to his tremendous offensive outing. Hawkinson had 18 points and 6 rebounds, while Daniels finished with 12 points.

The Cougs will be back on the floor on Thursday at Arizona, which just knocked off No. 3 UCLA.