But Golden Bears guard Jorge Gutierrez responded with a pair of free throws and then stripped Thompson on the Cougars' ensuing possession. That forced WSU to foul Brandon Smith, who made a pair of free throws to extend California's lead to 86-81 with 39 seconds left. A missed jumper by guard Faisal Aden, who was limited to six points, effectively ended the game. Golden Bears forward Harper Kamp, who had 18 points, then converted a pair of free throws to finish the scoring.
"It was really physical," said WSU center DeAngelo Casto, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds, in a postgame radio interview. "They're big, thick and strong inside."
Thompson did not attempt a field goal in overtime.
"We were trying to get him the ball every single possession, but it was hard to get him the ball," WSU coach Ken Bone said during a postgame radio interview. "We weren't able to execute down the stretch."
Despite the loss, it might have been Thompson's finest performance of his time in crimson and gray. Forget his 43-point effort on Nov. 28, 2009. After all, that was a 93-56 win against an overmatched San Diego squad in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Thompson's 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 74 and a miss by Gutierrez sent it into overtime. Thompson gave the Cougars their first lead of the second half, 71-70, on a 3-pointer. But Bears freshman Allen Crabbe, who converted 10 of 15 shots en route to 30 points, quickly responded by drawing a foul on Thompson. He converted both free throws to regain the lead with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.
That is when both offenses stagnated.
Neither team scored again until Kamp corralled an offensive rebound and was fouled by Casto. A pair of free throws gave the Bears a 74-71 lead with 20.5 seconds left.
That is when Thompson responded.
BUT THOMPSON DID not have much support. Despite Casto, who did not start after Bone said he was late for the team bus leaving Pullman, Moore was the only other player who scored in double digits. He had 11 points, but made just 3 of 12 shots as his road-shooting woes continued. Two weeks ago in Los Angeles, Moore combined for just 12 points on 3 of 18 shooting in Los Angeles.
"It seems to me like he's not as aggressive on the road," Bone said.
Aden, who averaged 14.8 points per game entering the contest, finished with just six points against the Golden Bears. Bone said he believes the junior-college transfer is struggling to adjust against bigger and more athletic defenders.
But it was not just offense as the Cougars shot 46 percent from the field. Defense was a larger concern as California converted 51.7 percent of its shots. Most of those struggles occurred during the first half as WSU trailed 42-32 at the intermission. Crabbe had 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting in the first 20 minutes.
"We really didn't have an answer for him," Bone said. "But if we played with effort in the first half, I think we would've had an answer for him."
The Cougars next play at 5 p.m. Saturday at Stanford (9-5, 2-1), which upset first-place Washington, 58-56, on Thursday to remain undefeated at home.
"That's a huge win for them," Bone said. "But it's a team we can beat. There's a lot of parity in this conference."