PULLMAN - Reggie Moore, who found himself in an embarrassing predicament early in the week, saved the Washington State Cougars when they found themselves in an embarrassing predicament Saturday night.
Four days after being arrested for marijuana possession, Moore scored all 15 of his points in the first half to help the Cougars shake off a sloppy start and down shorthanded Oregon, 77-63.
WSU turned the ball over six times in the first six minutes and trailed the last-place Ducks 17-9 after 8 minutes, 10 seconds. Fifteen seconds later, Moore buried one of his season-high three 3-pointers to ignite an 18-2 run that pushed the Cougars ahead for good.
“Reggie did a good job,” Cougars coach Ken Bone said. “He hit some big shots when we really needed them early.”
Pacific-10 Conference scoring leader Klay Thompson, who did not score until the 16-minute mark, finished with a game-high 16 points. He also had eight of WSU’s 47 rebounds.
Marcus Capers added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. DeAngelo Casto had 12 points and seven boards. Moore had a game-high five assists and just three of WSU’s 18 turnovers.
“Reggie is a really smart guard,” Capers said.
“He looked relaxed,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “Our zone (defense) didn’t put a lot of pressure on him.”
The Ducks, already short on talent, size, depth and experience after several key players transferred following the dismissal of longtime coach Ernie Kent, played most of the game without three starters.
Forwards Joevan Catron (calf) and Jeremy Jacob (knee) sat out the second half. The other wounded Duck, guard Malcolm Armstead, did not suit up after his ailing knee acted up Thursday at Washington.
Oregon (7-9, 0-4 Pac-10) has lost six in a row. The Ducks continued their unsightly shooting by throwing up several airballs and hitting just 34 percent of their shots. Garrett Sim led Oregon with 13 points.
The Cougars (12-4, 2-2 ) have won two consecutive Pac-10 games for the first time since Jan. 16 and 21.
An enthusiastic crowd of 6,690, bolstered by students returning to town for the start of the new semester on Monday, turned out for just the second game at Friel since Dec. 8.
The Cougars are 6-1 at Friel with an average winning margin of 83-57, excluding a 63-58 loss to No. 5 Kansas State.