CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Washington State Cougars rebounded in more ways than one Saturday night, bouncing back from an atrocious performance Thursday at Oregon to grind out a 61-55 Pacific-10 Conference win Saturday evening at Oregon State.
In a game filled with an ugly assortment of shots, ballhandling, passes and fouls on both sides, the Cougars prevailed in large part because of a 42-30 advantage in rebounds.
“That was huge,” WSU coach Ken Bone said.
“Offense sells tickets, defense wins games and rebounds win championships,” WSU guard Marcus Capers said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”
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The Cougars had been outrebounded by 33 over the previous three games. WSU edged Oregon State 12-11 on the offensive glass to halt a nine-game streak of losing the offensive-rebounds battle.
The Cougars needed every rebound they could muster because they had to overcome 21 fouls, 20 turnovers and 3-for-15 shooting from 3-point range. Also, Pac-10 scoring leader Klay Thompson was held to six points before fouling out in the final two minutes.
The Beavers were accommodating hosts. They racked up 20 fouls, clanked 15 of 17 3-pointers (12 percent), missed 12 of 23 free throws (48 percent) and registered a season low for points.
WSU led all the way after a 15-0 run midway through the first half. Oregon State outscored the Cougars 12-1 in the last five minutes of the first half to close to five, but the Cougars seemed in control when DeAngelo Casto and Capers connected on back-to-back three-point plays to push WSU ahead 52-39 with five minutes left in the second half.
Capers soon fouled out, however, and it was a two-point game before Faisal Aden went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in the final 19 seconds.
“You’ve got to have heart and grind it out,” WSU point guard Reggie Moore said.
“It was one of those games where you’re thinking the whole time, ‘We can pull it out. We can pull it out,’ ” OSU coach Craig Robinson said.
Washington State’s victory, coupled with California’s triple-overtime loss to first-place Arizona, leaves the Cougars and Bears tied for fourth place at 6-5. WSU, 16-7 overall, has tied its league and overall victory totals from last season.
Moore played aggressively and led WSU with 14 points. Casto added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Aden contributed 10 points and tied his season high with seven rebounds.
Freshman forward Devon Collier led Oregon State (9-13, 4-7) with season bests of 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Beavers, who were coming off a shocking win over Washington on Thursday, started two freshmen and three sophomores. The Beavers gave WSU fits with traps out of their 1-3-1 defense.
Thompson played in foul trouble most of the game. He wound up with five assists, five turnovers and season lows of two field goals and seven field-goal attempts in 32 minutes.
“He’s not Superman,” Casto said. “He’s a human. He’s going to have off games.”
The Gill Coliseum crowd of 7,376 included a few hundred WSU fans, and they were plenty loud.
“We noticed all of them,” Casto said. “That was awesome.”
Stanford (12-10, 5-6) visits WSU at 7 p.m. on Thursday.