PULLMAN - Isaiah Thomas hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 of his 22 points during a crucial second-half stretch, and Washington squandered a 14-point halftime lead before beating Washington State, 59-52, on Saturday night.
With the Huskies (19-9 overall, 9-7 Pacific-10 Conference) trailing 44-41 after scoring just six points in 12 minutes, Thomas hit a tying 3-pointer. He followed with two free throws and, after a Scott Suggs 3-pointer, Thomas hit again from behind the arc to push the Huskies in front by four, 52-48.
Thomas added two free throws with 3:18 remaining after a few words with WSU’s DeAngelo Casto, and Washington’s lead was six. The Cougars (16-12, 6-10) got no closer than four.
Casto matched his career high with 19 points, but WSU’s leading scorer, Klay Thompson, continued to slump. Thompson had five points on 2-of-14 shooting.
He broke an 0-for-20 string when his 3-pointer tied the score at 39-39 and capped an 18-4 Cougars spurt to start the second half. Thompson missed all 12 shots against USC on Feb. 20 and his first eight shots against the Huskies.
But his struggles continued down the stretch. Thompson had three open shots in the final five minutes rattle around the rim and out. His layup with 1:09 to go pulled WSU to 54-50, and after Washington couldn’t hit the rim at the other end, the Cougars had a chance with 32 seconds to play.
Reggie Moore was fouled on a drive and hit two free throws with 20.4 seconds remaining. Washington’s Venoy Overton was fouled, and in the din of roaring Beasley Coliseum, hit both free throws with 19 seconds to go.
Moore was then stripped on a drive and Thomas raced for a three-point play while Washington fans in the cheap seats chanted, “Whose house? Dawgs house!”
Matthew Bryan-Amaning finished with 17 points, with 15 coming in the first half, and 12 rebounds for Washington.
The game was reminiscent of the rivals’ first meeting this year, when WSU led 40-36 at halftime only to get rolled in the second half of a 92-64 Huskies rout.
This time, the Cougars trailed 35-21 at halftime before rallying. Their run to start the second half was led by Casto, who scored nine points during the stretch. WSU took its first lead on James Watson’s free throw for a 42-41 advantage with 11:03 remaining.