Cougs come up short, await Sunday seeding

TALK ABOUT UNUSUAL. Friday's Pac-10 conference tournament semi-final contest between Washington State and Stanford was out of the norm in so many ways. But at the end, it was all-too-familiar for the Cougars, as they lost to the Card for the third time this season and now await Sunday's NCAA tourney pairings to find out who and where they play next.

Stanford, behind the all-world efforts of 7-foot center Brook Lopez, prevailed 75-68. They take on UCLA Saturday for the tournament title.

The Cougs, now 24-8 on the season, led early, fell behind, got close at halftime, stayed close, fell behind by 13 with just more than three minutes left and then pulled within three before succumbing.

For a variety of reasons, it was an unusual game:

• Late in the second half refs whistled Cougar center Aron Baynes for a foul – his fifth and final – on a play in which teammate Taylor Rochestie clearly was the culprit. A fuming Baynes went to the bench while Rochestie and Bennett pleaded for common sense. After reviewing tape, the foul was switched to Rochestie and Baynes came jogging back onto the court.

• The standout Cougar defense, built on man-to-man play, switched to a zone – a very rare sight in the Bennett Era -- midway through the second half, presumably to help keep Baynes from fouling out. And the results were stout, allowing the Cougs to close within three with 23 seconds left after trailing by 13 at 3:34.

• Stanford held Cougar sharpshooter Derrick Low to just one three-point make through the first 24 ½ minutes of the game and then the senior from Hawaii hit three of them within 84 seconds to narrow the score to 43-41 with six minutes left to play.

• WSU junior Daven Harmeling, largely absent from the Cougar offense for the last month, made his first 3-pointer since Feb. 16 at Oregon. He finished the night 4-for-4 from the field -- all 3-pointers -- and with 13 points. Included in the tally was his second 4-point play of the season.

At the end of the night, two stats spoke volumes about the outcome: Stanford scored 20 points off turnovers to WSU's eight; and Stanford scored 30 points in the paint vs. the Cougs' 14.

NOTABLE:
WSU will host a public event at Bohler Gym on Sunday to celebrate the Cougars' expected bid to March Madness. Admission is free with doors opening at 2 p.m. The event, including a highlight video and team introductions will begin at 2:30 p.m. CBS will air the selection of the 65-team field beginning at 3 p.m.


BROOK LOPEZ HAD HIS WAY DOWN UNDER, SCORING 30 POINTS AND PULLING DOWN 12 REBOUNDS.


KYLE WEAVER: 25 POINTS, 12 REBOUNDS.


DERRICK LOW: 15 POINTS – 12 OF THEM FROM 3-POINT LAND.



ARON BAYNES: TOUGH NIGHT WITH 4 REBOUNDS AND 2 POINTS.


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