Pullman - Ugly never looked so beautiful to the Washington State Cougars.
WSU and Oregon State banged heads and bodies all afternoon, struggled to put the ball in the basket, and rarely made it up and down the floor without a whistle.
But the Cougars held on for a 65-60 Pacific-10 Conference victory Saturday at Friel Court.
The Cougars overcame a season-low point total, 50 percent free-throw shooting (9-of-18) in the second half and a dismal performance by Klay Thompson.
The NCAA Division I scoring leader coming into the day with an average of 25.6 points a game, Thompson scored a season-low seven points before fouling out with 4:49 remaining.
With a trip to the Arizona schools looming next weekend, the Cougars could ill afford an 0-2 start in Pac-10 play – particularly after a controversial, double-overtime loss to Oregon on Thursday.
Washington State coach Ken Bone said he was pleased with his young team’s “good composure” late in the game Saturday.
Freshman guard Xavier Thames clinched the victory by sinking two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining.
Another freshman guard, Reggie Moore, led WSU (11-3 overall, 1-1 Pac-10) with a season-high 19 points. With 3.8 seconds to go, Moore hit the second of two free throws – making him 2-of-7 for the afternoon – to push the Cougars ahead 63-60.
The Cougars started the day leading the Pac-10 in free-throw shooting percentage at 74.3, and Moore was leading the team at 83.8.
“I was shooting like Shaq today,” joked Moore, referring to notoriously bad free-throw shooter Shaquille O’Neal, the well-traveled NBA center.
The Cougars led most of the way, but Oregon State (6-7, 0-2) tied the game twice in the final four minutes.
The Beavers fell behind by 10 with 121/2 minutes to go before a crowd of 5,967.
Calvin Haynes, who led the Beavers with 17 points, cut Oregon State’s deficit to two when he nailed a floater with 1:20 remaining.
WSU’s Nikola Koprivica then lost the ball in traffic at the other end, but Moore went crashing to the floor after drawing a charge from Haynes in the lane with 17.5 seconds to go.
“You’ve got to make those type of sacrifices for your team if you want to be a great team,” Moore said.
“I’m hoping Klay saw it,” Bone said, “because we need him to get better at taking some charges.
“Reggie’s just a tough, competitive kid. Even though he wasn’t making free throws, he just does other things to win games.”
Haynes said the offensive foul against him should have been a blocking foul on Moore.
Asked if his feet were set in time to draw the charge, Moore said, “Uh, hey, the ref said I got there, so I got there.”
The Cougars, who almost always play man-to-man defense, opted for a 2-3 zone – standard for Oregon State – virtually all the way.
Haynes is the only consistently effective outside shooter on the Beavers, and Haynes and OSU coach Craig Robinson said they were dismayed when the Beavers attempted 15 shots from 3-point range in the first half (making just four).
WSU sophomore guard Marcus Capers scored 10 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds.
Thames (eight points, three steals) and redshirt freshman forward James Watson (seven points and two charges taken in just 13 minutes) played well off the bench for the Cougars.
Hustling junior forward Daniel Deane had 15 points and seven rebounds for Oregon State.
The Cougars shot 51 percent from the field but just 55 percent at the line.
The Beavers nailed all 15 of their free throws but shot just 37 percent from the field, including 26 percent in the first half, which ended with WSU holding a 29-24 lead.
“If it wasn’t for out lack of execution in the first half … we probably would have won this game easily,” Haynes said.
WSU returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday at Arizona (7-7, 1-1). FSN will televise the contest.