PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) – Malcolm Lee hit four free throws in the closing seconds of overtime to lift UCLA to a 58-54 victory over wounded Washington State on Saturday.
Arizona’s victory earlier in the day prevented UCLA (22-9, 13-5 Pac-10) from having a chance to tie the Wildcats for the Pac-10 title.
Washington State (19-11, 9-9) played without suspended star Klay Thompson and injured point guard Reggie Moore. But it nearly managed to break a home losing streak to UCLA that now stands at 18.
Faisal Aden hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 54 with 1:17 left.
The Bruins turned it over on a shot clock violation, but the Cougars gave it right back, and Lee was fouled while going for a layup with 6.9 seconds left. He made both for a 56-54 lead. Washington State turned over the ball on the inbounds play and had to foul. Lee made both for the final points.
Thompson, leading scorer in the Pac-10 at 21 points per game, was suspended for the game after he was cited for marijuana possession on Thursday night. Moore suffered an ankle injury in Thursday’s victory over USC.
Thompson walked onto the floor in street clothes just before tipoff and took the microphone. He apologized to fans in a brief statement.
“I made a mistake,” Thompson said to the roaring crowd, then was embraced by teammates and sat on the end of the bench for the game.
The score was tied at 48 at the end of regulation. Reeves Nelson scored two baskets for the Bruins, and Aden made one of two free throws as UCLA took a 52-49 lead.
Tyler Honeycutt scored for the Bruins, and WSU’s Abe Lodwick replied for a 54-51 UCLA lead.
Washington State used nearly all the clock at the end of regulation, and Aden was fouled and made one of two free throws with 14 seconds left for a 48-46 lead.
Lee drove to the basket and was fouled be DeAngelo Casto with 8.9 seconds left. He made both to tie the score at 48.
Aden missed a long jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
UCLA has a 99-14 lead in the series.
The Bruins trailed 32-19 at halftime, but opened the second half with an 11-1 run to get within 33-30 on\ Lee’s basket.
Honeycutt’s 3-pointer for UCLA tied the game at 35 with 11:54 left, as the Bruins sank seven of their first nine shots of the second half.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)