Scores

Final

Utah 42

(6-4, 1-3 away)

Washington St 69

(7-2, 6-1 home)

    10:30 PM ET, December 22, 2005

    KeyArena, Seattle, Washington

    1 2 T
    UTAH 14 2842
    WSU 39 3069

    Top Performers

    Utah: L. Nevill 10 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast

    Washington State: R. Cowgill 14 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    Washington State 69, Utah 42

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Robbie Cowgill came all the way to Washington State from Austin, Texas, because coach Dick Bennett convinced him that he could turn around the long-suffering Cougars' basketball program.

    The Cougars showed their westside fans Thursday night that just might be possible this season.

    Randy Green scored 15 points and Cowgill had 14, leading Washington State to a 69-42 victory over Utah in the Cougars' first game at Key Arena, home of the NBA Seattle SuperSonics. The Cougars have signed a three-season contract to play one game each year in Seattle.

    "Our goal is to get this program up to an elite status," said Cowgill, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward who now weighs 210 pounds after arriving in Pullman at 180 last year. "That was coach Bennett's major selling point. We want to turn this thing around together."

    The Cougars (7-2) wrapped up their nonconference schedule in impressive fashion against the Utes (6-4), notching their third win in a row after a 14-point loss to No. 8 Gonzaga.

    Washington State also ended an 11-game losing streak in its series with Utah, winning for only the second time in 14 games against the Utes.

    The Cougars will open their Pac-10 season against Arizona and Arizona State at home next week. They return to Seattle to face No. 9 Washington on Jan. 7.

    Cowgill hopes the Cougars sent a strong message to the Huskies: "Tonight, I think we showed the whole Pac-10 that we're a force to be reckoned with."

    Derrick Low added 10 points for the Cougars, hitting a pair of 3-pointers.

    Luke Nevill, a 7-foot-1 freshman center from Australia, came off the bench to lead Utah with 10 points, all in the second half.

    Green gave the Cougars a 29-point lead -- 43-14 -- when he made a four-point play to open the second half. He hit a 3-pointer and made a foul shot after being fouled by Shaun Green.

    The Cougars led 39-14 at halftime, after a 13-0 run that featured two 3-pointers by Josh Akognon put them ahead 23-7 with 8:32 left. The Utes shot just 6-for-16 in the first half.

    Cowgill scored Washington State's first 10 points in the first 6:19 and wound up with a dozen in the opening half.

    He said he's just starting to hit his stride after missing the first three games of the season with a cracked right clavicle suffered in practice before the season got under way.

    Bennett thought so, too. In fact, he called it Cowgill's best game as a member of the Cougars.

    "He looked stronger than ever tonight," Bennett said.

    The Utes managed just 36 shots and 14 field goals in the game.

    Utah coach Ray Giacoletti was distressed by his team's showing.

    "Until you have some fire and passion in you, it doesn't matter what you do," he said. "Right now, we don't. We're not looking for spurts. We're looking for 40 minutes."

    The 42 points by Utah was its lowest total since the Utes scored 41 against UNLV on March 14, 2003.

    The Utes had a 29-6 record and reached the regional semifinals in last season's NCAA tournament, but lost The Associated Press Player of the Year, 7-foot sophomore center Andrew Bogut, to the NBA. Bogut was the first pick in the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.

    It was the first meeting ever between the 62-year-old Bennett and Giacolletti. Bennett hasn't said when he's going to retire from coaching, but it could be this season. Then his son, Tony, a Cougars assistant, would step up to take his place.

    Bennett arrived in Pullman three seasons ago, taking over a program that was 7-20 in 2002-2003. He previously coached at Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Stevens Point, guiding Wisconsin to the Final Four in the 1999-2000 season.

    Bennett said he likes Washington State's decision to play games in Seattle. Thursday night's crowd was 5,496.

    "On my fund-raising and promotional visits here, I always had the feeling that these folks would be behind us," he said.

    In attendance at the game was Seattle Seahawks center Robbie Tobek, who played college football at Washington State.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    UTAH
    WSU
    Points 42 69
    FG Made-Attempted 14-36 (.389) 27-49 (.551)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-15 (.333) 7-15 (.467)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-15 (.600) 8-8 (1.000)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 30

    2005-06 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Dec 22, 2005 @WSU 69, UTAH 42Recap