Washington State survives late Rice rally for 76-74 victory
Washington State held off a late rally by the Rice Owls and escaped their consolation round game at the Great Alaska Shootout with a 76-74 victory on Friday afternoon. The Cougars were paced by sophomore center Josh Hawkinson, who finished with a game-high 27 points on 11 of 18 shooting from the field. Guard DaVonte Lacy added 15 points for the Cougs and Dexter Kernich-Drew chipped in 12, including hitting on 3 of 4 from behind the arc. Rice was carried by 22 points from forward Seth Gearhart, who, along with guard Marcus Jackson, refused to go down without a fight.
Despite never trailing in the game, Washington State definitely felt the pressure from the Owls by the finish. After jumping out to a 17-point lead in the first half, the Cougars maintained a comfortable lead most of the game, leading by six at halftime, 39-33. Rice kept pace until the last minute and desperately scrambled to tie it up late. A three from Jackson with 29 seconds left cut the Cougs lead to 72-68 but WSU made enough late free throws and held up on defense to escape with the victory. Jackson finished with 14 points and 5 assists for the Owls. WSU bounced back from an ugly defeat at the hands of UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the Shootout.