Cougs now 0-6 vs. Pac's traditional elites

WASHINGTON STATE, thought by many to be a Final Four contender this year, let one get away at No. 8 Stanford on Saturday. In the process, they put an exclamation point on a sobering fact: Against the three Pac-10 programs with the steadiest, year-in-year-out success, WSU is 0-6 this year.

The Cougs, swept away convincingly by both UCLA and Arizona, didn't have a second-half answer for Card center Brook Lopez and lost 60-53.

WSU led the 40-minute conest for the first 36-minutes-plus, and had an 11-point halftime advantage. But like the earlier meeting between the two teams -– an overtime affair in Pullman pulled out by Stanford –- the Card stepped up in crunch time.

Conversely, WSU shots wouldn't fall. Worse, the two cornerstones of the team -– ball care and stout transition defense -- cracked. And the Cougars were swept away yet again.

So now make it three teams that WSU really doesn't want to see in the Pac-10 tournament.


DERRICK LOW WAS FLYING HIGH IN FIRST HALF.

WSU drops to 22-7 overall and 10-7 in conference play with one regular-season game left -– at home vs. Washington on Saturday. The Cougars remain alone in third place in the conference by virtue of USC's loss today to Arizona State.

Derrick Low was the Cougs' leading scorer, with 14 points -– all of them scored in the first half. Aron Baynes added 10 points, hitting four field goals and dropping two free throws.

The 7-foot Lopez had a game-high 25 points for the Cardinal, who improved to 24-4 and 13-3.

The loss came two days after the Cougars beat California, 70-49, for their fifth win in six games – and perhaps the finest all-around performance of the entire year. Washington State shot 53.1 percent from the field in that game, and scored 39 points in an explosive second half.

The drama in Saturday's second half was reminiscent of the WSU-Stanford meeting on Feb. 2. Then-No. 14 Stanford upset then-No. 9 Washington State 67-65. Lopez was the co-leading scorer in that game with 18 points.

NOTABLE NOTES:
• The Cougars have led Stanford at halftime in the last five games. WSU is 1-4 in those games.
• Stanford made its first field goal of the game at the 12:50 mark in the first half. WSU opened with a 9-0 run in the first four and a half minutes.
• Stanford grabbed its first lead of the game at the 3:35-minute mark (52-51).. The firrst tie of game since 0-0 came at 4:01 (51-51).
• Chris Henry's appearance in the first half of Saturday's game at Stanford marked the first time this season he has appeared in consecutive games (played eight minutes at California).
• After missing WSU's game at Cal Thursday with a sprained ankle, Daven Harmeling played three minutes.


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