"We've got a fight in us," WSU guard Faisal Aden said in a postgame radio interview. "It was a must win."
And the Cougars (13-5 overall, 3-3 conference), who won at Maples Pavilion for the first time since 2005, accomplished it at the free-throw line. Junior forward Abe Lodwick, who converted only 1 of 4 free throws entering the game, hit a pair from the stripe with only 5.9 seconds left. Lodwick was fouled after he corralled a rebound when Stanford's Josh Owens missed the second of a pair of free throws that could have tied the game. WSU led 59-58 at that point.
"Abe is a greater shooter," Aden said. "We knew those were going in. That wasn't really surprising."
But the suspense did not end there. The Cardinal (10-6, 3-2), who entered the game with a 10-0 record at Maples Pavilion, converted eight 3-pointers and were able to get the ball to Jeremy Green for the final shot. But Green, who hit the game-winning shot last year at Stanford, missed.
"That was a little scary," Aden said. "I thought that was going in."
The Cougars played without starting point guard Moore. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges were filed Jan. 4 against Moore by the Whitman County prosecutor's office. Moore, who has played three games since then, was suspended indefinitely by coach Ken Bone, who said via a statement released by WSU's sports information department that he wanted to evaluate details of Moore's case. Bone will reevaluate the situation next week.
Without Moore, Bone inserted junior-college transfer Faisal Aden into the starting lineup. Aden responded with 20 points on 8 of 19 shooting. He also converted 3 of 4 free throws.
"He was really aggressive," Bone said in a postgame radio interview. "He got the ball right to the rim and scored."
The Cougars' ability to do that in the second half was significant. College basketball statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy ranked WSU 296th nationally in free-throw rate entering the game. But the Cougars, who converted 11 of 14 free throws, were able to get into the bonus with 6 minutes, 39 seconds left in the game when Marcus Capers was fouled. He made both free throws to cut the Cardinal's advantage to 51-49.
IT WAS THAT aggression that finally put WSU ahead. Junior center DeAngelo Casto found Thompson, who was cutting for a layup, underneath for a foul. Thompson, who scored a game-high 21 points, made the free throw to put the Cougars ahead, 54-52, with 3:53 left. Thompson now has scored at least 15 points in his last 21 contests.
After WSU, which held Stanford to 34.4 percent shooting, kept the Cardinal scoreless via a shot-clock violation on the next possession, Casto muscled through contact to score and finish a three-point play on a free throw with 2:55 remaining. That put the Cougars ahead 57-52.
But for WSU, which entered the game 0-3 in conference road games, nothing comes too easy away from the Palouse. Stanford freshman Anthony Brown responded with a 3-pointer at the 2:25 mark to cut the Cardinal's deficit to two.
The margin remained the same after Green responded to a pair of Casto free throws with a field goal with 1:27 left. Capers was called for traveling, one of only four second-half turnovers for the Cougars, on their next possession, but Stanford was unable to capitalize.
Bone particularly was happy with how his team responded after it trailed 32-23 at halftime.
"We played so poor during the first half on the offensive end," he said. "Our guys came out a little more focused ... they did it the right way by sharing the ball."
Bone said he hopes the result gives his team momentum as it returns to Friel Court for its longest homestand of conference play. The Cougars host both Arizona schools next week and then end the first half of Pac-10 competition Jan. 30 against Washington.
Cougars finally end road woes at Stanford
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