Hoops: Senior guard Charles Callison keys furious WSU comeback, Cougs pull out 69-68 win over Santa Clara

PULLMAN -- Whatever Ernie Kent said to his Cougars, he should copyright it. Trailing 66-55 to Santa Clara with time running down, Kent called a timeout. The pause worked as Washington State went on a 14-0 run and then hung on to defeat SCU 69-68 as time expired, courtesy of one very big block.

The prescient timeout notwithstanding, Kent didn’t get everything right in the copyright department.   After the win, he tried to go down the same failed path Mike Price once traveled. 
"They have that saying after the end of an event here that we Coug'd it and I always kept saying ‘Boy wouldn't it be great if we changed that around to where it meant a positive thing,’” Kent said.

Memo to Kent: The saying was long ago retired by the vast majority of Cougar fans.  Moreover, Cougar fans would rather hear about the summer’s Italy trip again than see another Wazzu coach try to use the phrase in a positive way.

Meanwhile, Washington State (6-5) had no answer Saturday for SCU guard Jared Brownridge (25 points) until the end, when Charles Callison swatted away his would-be game winner with 0:01 left on the clock. WSU’s senior guard was at the center of WSU’s  final and furious final push, making it the seventh time this season he's reached double figures (14).

"We came out sluggish in the first 10 minutes of the second half, so I was just trying to get our team up and going," said Callison.

Callison had a key steal late and his layup with 1:25 left gave WSU its first lead since halftime.  But he also missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one’s to give Santa Clara (5-7) a chance.  Josh Hawkinson said the Cougs realized the threat Brownridge posed but didn't make the right adjustments  on defense until the second half.

"That was the game plan coming in - we knew he was a big time scorer for them so we really tried to run them off the lane,” said Hawkinson. “He's a really good 3-point shooter and we knew that they were going to try to get it to him at the end of the game in order to make a big basket.
Hawkinson didn't log his customary double-double bu the finished with 21 points and tied his career high with five assists to go along with four rebounds -- the Cougs tied a season high with 19 assists. Wazzu also saw the return of guard Viont'e Daniels after he sat out four games on concussion protocol.
NEXT UP: WSU plays its last non-conference game Wednesday at home against Sacramento State at 6 p.m. in Beasley.  The Cougars begin Pac-12 play at Washington on Jan. 1.

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