PULLMAN - Classes don't resume at Washington State until Monday, but the Cougars taught Oregon State a lesson in Basketball 101 on Thursday night.
The lesson? If you don’t bring your “A” game when the Cougars are hitting from outside, you’re probably going to get stuck with an “L.”
The Cougars buried seven 3-pointers in the first 17 minutes to build a 41-22 lead, then survived some tense moments in the second half before securing an 84-70 Pacific-10 Conference victory Thursday night.
WSU’s Klay Thompson led all players with 29 points, five 3-pointers and 10 rebounds. The Cougars shot 51 percent from the field, including 38 percent on 3-pointers (11-for-29). Oregon State shot a season-low 34 percent.
“I liked our team defense on the ball,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said.
The Beavers had cut their deficit to four with 71/2 minutes left before Thompson fed DeAngelo Casto down low for the first of Casto’s back-to-back dunks.
Casto immediately followed his second dunk with a blocked shot, and Thompson scored at the other end to cap a 6-0 spurt. Oregon State never threatened again.
Thompson praised Casto for providing “a lot of momentum” at a pivotal time.
“That was probably the turning point in the game,” Thompson said of Casto’s dunks.
Actually, the turning point in the game may have been Thompson’s arrival at the arena.
“Klay did a great job,” Bone said. “He hit some big shots, made some great passes, and coming up with 10 rebounds was very impressive and much needed.”
The Cougars (11-4 overall, 1-2 Pac-10) outrebounded the Beavers (7-7, 2-1) by two, but Oregon State had an 18-8 advantage on the offensive glass. WSU’s faulty board work and a season-high 19 turnovers helped Oregon State rally after starting the game tentatively.
“We played like a team that didn’t believe we should be 2-0,” Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said.
The Cougars, playing in Pullman for the first time since Dec. 8, snapped their three-game losing streak and Oregon State’s three-game winning streak. The crowd of 5,849 was relatively quiet.
“It was just really nice to be home,” Casto said.
Guard Jared Cunningham led Oregon State with 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals. WSU point guard Reggie Moore started and had 11 points and a season-high nine assists in his first game since being arrested for marijuana possession.
OSU’s began trapping late in the first half and created some problems for the Cougars. Thompson tied his season high with a game-high six turnovers.
Oregon (7-8, 0-3) visits WSU at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. FSN televises the game.