PULLMAN – The 24th-ranked Baylor Bears led most of the way and held off a late Washington State rally to post a 58-52 nonconference victory in men’s basketball late Saturday night at Friel Court.
Reserve guard LaceDarius Dunn led four Bears in double figures with 14 points. Daven Harmeling and Aron Baynes led three Cougars in double figures with 14 points apiece.
Dunn and Harmeling both nailed four 3-pointers.
The game featured tenacious defensive play and streaky shooting by both teams. Baylor led 29-22 at halftime. The point totals were season lows for one half for both teams, and Baylor’s previous low for points in a game was 72.
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WSU’s only lead of the second half came with nine minutes remaining, when guard Taylor Rochestie sank two free throws to push the Cougars ahead 43-42.
The game was part of the second annual Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
The Big 12 leads 4-2 with the final three games set for today.
The Bears nursed small leads most of the first half, then finished with a 6-0 run to build their halftime lead.
Baynes led WSU with eight points in the opening half. Freshman Klay Thompson, WSU’s leading scorer, took no shots and played just nine minutes in the first half after going to the bench early with two fouls.
Senior Henry Dugat guarded Thompson closely much of the game, then gave way to Tweety Carter. Thompson finished with four points on 2-for-5 shooting.
The Cougars would have erased their seven-point halftime deficit if not for blown layups by Baynes and DeAngelo Casto and four missed free throws in eight attempts.
The Cougars return to action Wednesday against fifth-ranked Gonzaga (6-0). Dan Meyer, WSU’s athletics tickets manager, said he has “no doubt” the game (7 p.m., FSN) will be the first sellout of the season.
The remaining tickets are priced at $40 because they are packaged with the Jan. 8 game with California, when WSU students will be on Christmas break.
The Cougars traditionally struggle to draw large crowds when school is not in session.
More than 9,000 tickets have been sold for WSU’s annual game at Seattle’s KeyArena next Saturday night versus Montana State (3-3). … Gonzaga’s annual game at KeyArena (capacity 17,098) is almost sold out. The Zags face No. 2 Connecticut on Dec. 20. … The Bears received no pay for the trip to Pullman, just as the Cougars paid their way to Waco, Texas, for last year’s game with Baylor. WSU paid little Canisius College $100,000 to come to Pullman from Buffalo two weeks ago. … Ex-Cougars star Derrick Low’s pro team in Sydney, Australia, is set to finish the season after players agreed to 56 percent pay cuts to keep the franchise alive. Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, a native of Australia, pledged about $30,000 to help the team. … WSU season ticket sales have topped 4,500 for the first time. All-sports student passes will top 11,500 for the first time.