COUGS WIN! COUGS WIN! COUGS WIN! COUGS WIN!

PULLMAN -- Don't ask Washington State men's basketball coach Tony Bennett if his 14-2 Cougars are worthy of a Top 25 ranking, even if it comes directly after a 77-73 overtime upset of No. 7 Arizona. For Bennett, four games into the Pac-10 schedule is much too soon to celebrate, even when perched in a tie for the league lead, at 3-1 in the conference.

"I don't know, I don't really care -- I just want to keep playing good ball," Bennett said about a possible -- some would say probable -- Top 25 ranking for Washington State come Monday after defeating ASU and Arizona this week. "I'm sure we'll get consideration because we're getting votes. It's all about that journey of trying to touch something special."

But Bennett did agree the triumph was significant, as did the 7,181 fans in attendance Saturday night -- many of who rushed the floor when the clock hit zeros -- despite the fact school is not yet in session at WSU.

"They showed tremendous heart," Bennett said of his players. "It was a joy to be a part of that game. I lived and died through it."

What the Cougars accomplished was their best showing against a ranked opponent since defeating No. 6 UCLA in 1983 -- not so coincidently the last time WSU was ranked in the Top 25. The Cougars also swept their first home stand against Pac-10 foes since taking down the Oregon schools in 2001. What's more, Washington State held the conference's most prolific offense to it second lowest output of the season.

But the lid on the can might just be how the Cougars solidified a stake in the four-way tie atop the Pac-10 standings.

The game's hero was WSU forward Daven Harmeling, who had a career high 28-point effort, headlined by seven 3-pointers. The Cougars often found an inside game difficult to execute after Arizona switched to the 1-3-1, especially in the later parts of the first half. However, Harmeling's long-range shots, many from NBA distances, kept his team in the battle.

"To be honest, I didn't even know where I was or where the line was," Harmeling said. "I just knew I was open."

Arizona head coach Lute Olson was the first-hand recipient of Harmeling's seven treys.

"Harmeling just absolutely killed us," Olson said. "We put pressure on a few of his shots, but his shooting was really critical to them."

Kyle Weaver was the key along with Harmeling, and came within shouting distance of a triple-double. Weaver notched team highs in rebounds (9), assists (7) and steals (3) to go along with his 15 points.

WSU forwards Ivory Clark and Nikola Koprivica provided Cougars' fans with the scary moment of the game. With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Koprivica drove to the basket but was then pushed into Clark. The two hit heads and both had to leave the court. The collision caused a pool of blood on the Friel Court floor, most of it from Ivory.

Both eventually returned to the game, but Clark found his injury bothersome and had to come out to staunch the flow of blood. Clark nonetheless down the stretch provided the Cougars critical blocks and energy before eventually fouling out of the game. Both Clark and Koprivica received stitches above their right eyes.

The Cougars did damage to the Wildcats track record without the services of WSU center Aron Baynes (ankle) who is still day-to-day. Washington State also had difficulties penetrating the arc for large stretches of the game, including during a 10-2 Arizona run at the end of the first half.

Early in the game, WSU forward Robbie Cowgill got into foul trouble. With Derrick Low having an off night shooting, had Harmeling not been shooting lights out, the Cougars could have lost momentum for good. But Cowgill found his groove inside the paint with 13 points, Harmeling was dead bang and Chris Matthews, subbing in for Koprivica, hit two three point daggers.


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