WIN AGAIN! Story & Pics of Cougs over Dawgs

DOWN BY FOUR WITH A MINUTE left in regulation, it looked like the final Friel game for the Renaissance Boys -- Kyle Weaver, Robbie Cowgill and Derrick Low -- was not to have a storybook ending. But then the trio, aided by juniors Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes, did what they do best: WIN. And it was a doozy -- one that should be remembered for as long as Cougars and Huskies tangle.

"I kept telling those guys in the huddle, I said ‘You're going to make this one of the greatest memories if you can get this one,'" coach Tony Bennett told the Cougar radio broadcast team after WSU's dramatic, 76-73 double-overtime thrill-ride over Washington.

Indeed.

Weaver's mad dash down court with a steal -- a steal to seal the deal in the final ticks of regulation -- was like a scene from a movie. Television announcers, who praised his character under pressure, estimated he needed only another step to sink a game-winning layup or dunk befire time expired.

Highlights of Taylor Rochestie's clutch 3-pointers in OT will be replayed in the theater of the collecive crimson mind for years. Cowgill's game-tying put-back at the end of the first overtime was one for the ages.

And then there was the alley-oop earlier in the second half from Rochestie to Cowgill that truly ignited the ZZU Crew – most of whom wore ties over their Crimson t-shirts to match Bennett's annual Senior Day tradition.

The Cougars are now 23-7 overall and 11-7 in conference play. They finished in third place in tbe Pac-10 behind UCLA and Stanford and now head to the conference tourney in Los Angeles, where they'll face Oregon on Thursday. Seedings for the NCAA tournament will be unveiled March 16.

Washington is now 16-15 overall and 7-11 in Pac-10 action. To add insult to injury, the Horizon Air plane that flew the team back to Seattle was the one the airline recently had painted in Cougar colors and logos.

The Cougs, playing in front of 10,630 vocal fans, shot a woeful 30 percent from the field in the first 15 minutes of the game, and they were outrebounded 21-10, but they never let the Huskies get in control.

Rochestie scored eight of his 16 points in overtime.


KYLE WEAVER FINISHED WITH A GAME-HIGH 20 POINTS.

Fans stayed around Friel Court after the game, soaking up the sights of what has been described as the program's best-ever group of seniors. The Cougars won at least 11 conference games for the second consecutive season – something never done before in school history. Bennett brought the players to center court for an emotional post-game meeting before they saluted the sold-out crowd.

"You know, when you guys came here, we got excited for 2,000 or 4,000 people," Bennett said. "This is what has happened, and you've done it the right way.

"I just told them how proud I was of them."

It was fitting that on senior day, all three senior starters -- their parents in the stands -- had double-figure scoring efforts.

Weaver had a game-high 20 points. Derrick Low, who committed to Washington State without having ever seen the campus, had 16. Cowgill added 10.

The Cougars forced four Husky turnovers in the first six minutes. The Cougars? They didn't have any in the first 15 minutes.

Bennett told the Cougar radio broadcast team there were breakdowns certainly, "but I thought we went and won this game I don't think Washington lost it by any means. … It felt like they were playing their best ball."

Husky senior Ryan Appleby had 16 points – the most the Huskies' career leader in 3-pointers has ever scored against the Cougs.

Jon Brockman, who left with an ankle injury late in OT, had a team-high 17. The Associated Press reported he left Friel Court on crutches, and his status for the Pac-10 tournament is unclear.

The win Saturday was Bennet's 49th in two years, matching the best streak by a Cougar. His only response: "Sounds good."

"Now," Bennett said, "we've just got to keep trying to play the best ball we can going into the conference tournament."


Nail biting game! WSU sophomore Chelsea Newman preps for Baynes free throws in first half.


It's over! Taylor Rochestie celebrates with Robbie Cowgill


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