PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Gonzaga was held 29 points below its
season average, threw the ball away more than usual and shot just
41 percent from the field.
But the Bulldogs (Not ranked ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) still held on for a 54-52 win over
Washington State in a game that wasn't decided until the Cougars
missed three shots in the closing seconds.
Ronny Turiaf scored 17 points and Adam Morrison added 12 as
Gonzaga (6-1) survived Washington State coach Dick Bennett's
trademark withering defense for its third straight win since losing
to No. 1 Illinois in late November.
Morrison wasn't surprised by the intensity of the Cougars (3-3)
and a crowd of 8,151 that was the largest at Washington State for a
non-conference game in nine years.
"We're marked on the West Coast, especially the Northwest,"
Morrison said. "That's everywhere we go."
Turiaf was double and sometimes triple teamed throughout the
game, and had to leave for five minutes early in the second half
with a twisted ankle. But he scored when Gonzaga needed him to,
although he finished below his season average of 24 points per
"We played hard for 40 minutes," Turiaf said. "We had to do
every little thing that can help us."
The Bulldogs made just 17-of-41 shots, 41 percent, in their
lowest offensive output of the season. The 68 they scored in a win
over Massachusetts Saturday had been their low, and they came in
averaging 83 points per game. They committed 17 turnovers to 9 for
Washington State, which has scored just 29 and 37 points its
past two games, continued to have trouble on offense. The Cougars
made just 19-of-58 for 32 percent.
But freshman Josh Akognon kept the Cougars in the game with
three 3-pointers in the final 11 minutes. His long 3-point attempt
in the closing seconds that would have given WSU the lead bounced
off the front of the rim.
"I'll beat myself up tonight," Akognon, who had 12 points to
share the scoring lead with Randy Green, said. "I'll keep going
over that same play wondering what I could have done different."
Bennett had called a timeout with 11 seconds left, and said
Akognon was the intended shooter on the play.
"He pulled it a little soon from quite a distance," Bennett
said. "But I've seen him make that shot in practice."
The Cougars launched a couple of wild shots from inside in the
scramble after Akognon's shot, but time expired.
Bennett bemoaned his team's lack of shooting ability, and said
the Cougars have little choice but to concentrate on defense to
stay in games. They lost 81-29 to No. 5 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
"If we don't play defense we can't compete," Bennett said.
Gonzaga took a 53-50 lead after Sean Mallon made one of two free
throws with 2:05 left. Robbie Cowgill's turnaround jumper cut the
margin to 53-52 with 26 seconds left, and Washington State was
forced to foul.
Morrison hit one of two free throws with 11.8 seconds left
before Akognon's long 3-point attempt missed.
Washington State led 27-25 at the half.
Gonzaga guard Nathan Doudney suffered what appeared to be a torn
ACL when he was knocked into the Bulldog bench and may be out for
the season, Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.