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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Washington St. ends 19-year funk vs. Arizona

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posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 10:12 AM
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Four of the Washington State players on the court Saturday were not born the last time the Cougars beat Arizona. Two others were barely in diapers.

So WSU's 70-63 stunner over the 11th-ranked Wildcats -- at McKale Center no less -- was downright historic.

The Cougars ended a 38-game losing streak to coach Lute Olson's Arizona team.

"I can't remember the last time I was this happy," said Thomas Kelati, who sank a career-high seven 3-pointers and matched his career best with 27 points. "I returned to that locker room, coach was in tears, players were in tears. This feels good."

Kelati's final 3-pointer with 50.4 seconds to play put WSU ahead for good 66-63, then he sealed the victory by making two free throws with 32.1 seconds left.

"The thing I learned when I went to Washington State is there are too many negative streaks," said Dick Bennett, the ex-Wisconsin coach in his second season with the Cougars. "Every time you play you are facing one."

The Cougars erased a number of them on Saturday.

Washington State (9-9, 4-5 Pac-10) last beat the Wildcats on Jan. 30, 1986, 65-63 in overtime in Pullman. WSU broke a 20-game losing streak in Tucson and defeated a ranked opponent for the first time in 49 tries.

It was only Washington State's fifth road victory over a ranked team and first in 27 games. Arizona was the highest-rated opponent to fall among those five.

The Wildcats looked as if they might pull it out after a steal led to Mustafa Shakur's breakaway stuff that tied it at 63 with 1:12 remaining. But the Cougars scored the last seven points of the game.

Kelati, 7-for-9 from 3-point range, sank his final 3 to put WSU up for good. Salim Stoudamire missed a 3-pointer, then Kelati was fouled and made the two free throws to send WSU on its way to biggest upset in his two seasons with the Cougars.

Arizona (17-4, 7-2) came out flat for the noon tipoff after an intense 91-82 victory over No. 10 Washington on Thursday night. That victory had put the Wildcats alone in first place in the Pac-10, but Washington can move back into a tie by winning at Arizona State on Sunday.

"Our hearts were not in it," Channing Frye said. "We need to go back and focus in practice and understand where we are, and where we want to go."

Shakur led Arizona with 12 points. Ivan Radinovic had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Frye scored 11 but had only two rebounds. Stoudamire -- among the top shooters in the country over the last month -- was 4-for-14 shooting, 0-for-5 from 3-point range. He scored 11. Hassan Adams scored 10.

Olson was especially upset with his experienced players.

"The veterans should know better," he said. "They should know that if you've got Arizona on your jersey, Washington State was going to come out and play its best game. They outplayed us, they outhustled us."

Reserve Chris Rodgers did not play for the Wildcats. Olson said he was displeased with Rodgers' attitude following Thursday's game.

Freshmen Derek Low and Robbie Cowgill -- among those not born the last time the Cougars beat Arizona -- had season highs of 13 and 12 points, respectively. Low was 4-for-4 on 3-pointers.

The Wildcats shot just 35 percent in the second half and committed 17 turnovers in the game.

"I could tell they were getting frustrated," Low said. "They were trying to get the tempo the way they usually play, but we made shots and got rebounds."

Washington State kept the game at a slow tempo against the lethargic Wildcats, who lost at home for the first time in 12 outings this season.

WSU took an early 8-2 lead and was up 30-26 after Kelati's 3-pointer with 3:04 left in the half. Arizona responded with an 8-2 spurt, going up 34-30 on Stoudamire's driving bank shot 38 seconds before the break. But Jeff Varem's 3-pointer with 4 seconds to go cut the Wildcats' lead to 34-33 at halftime.

The Wildcats finally mounted a 10-0 surge that erased a 45-41 WSU lead and gave them their biggest lead, 51-45, on Shakur's drive through the lane with 9:19 remaining. Adams triggered the outburst with a steal from Varem and a breakaway stuff. But the Cougars came back, cutting it to 51-50 on Kelati's fourth 3-pointer with 7:01 to go, then Low made a 3-pointer from the corner to put WSU ahead 55-54 with 5½ minutes left.

The lead changed hands four times after that. Washington State went up 61-59 on Kelati's sixth 3-pointer with 3:06 to go. Adams' rebound of Stoudamire's missed 3 tied it at 61 with 2:33 left.

Varem made two free throws with 1:54 to play to put WSU ahead 63-61, then Shakur's breakaway tied it for the last time.



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