Instead, WSU (9-6, 1-2) found itself on the wrong end of several statistics as its record against Utah dropped to 1-11 at the Huntsman Center. None were more glaring than the Cougars shooting 10 of 22 from the free-throw line.
Coach Ken Bone said it was a microcosm of the game.
"That is very disappointing, especially in the low level of concentration," he said in a postgame radio interview. "We've got to come out with energy and focus. I don't think we brought it the way we needed to."
Lacy split a pair of free throws to give WSU a 60-58 lead with 1:05 left in overtime. But guard Chris Hines responded with a jumper to tie the game before Watkins' game-winning shot.
That wasted an superlative performance by Brock Motum, who is emerging as WSU's go-to scorer.
The 6-foot-10 junior scored 27 points. He now is averaging 21.7 points in three conference games.
A scarier prospect is to imagine where WSU might be without Motum. He scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Cougars to an 81-76 win Saturday against Oregon State in Spokane.
Motum converted 4 of 5 field goals en route to 11 points at halftime. The rest of the Cougars made just 5 of 17 shots during that span as they trailed 29-23 at the intermission. It was their fewest points during the first half this season.
He did not slow down much in the second half. Motum collected an offensive rebound and later was fouled. He converted both free throws to give WSU a 54-49 lead with 2:20 minutes left.
Given Utah's offensive woes, that figured to be enough to secure the victory. But Cedric Martin hit and 3-pointer and Josh Watkins converted a jumper with about 12 seconds left to tie the game, 54-all, and send it into overtime.
The Utes, who entered the game shooting just 41 percent, finished 47.3 percent.
The Cougars next play at 3 p.m. Saturday at Colorado (10-4, 2-0), which defeated UW 87-69 on Thursday.
"They're playing confident and they beat (Utah) by 40," Bone said. "You do the math."