Photos by Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services
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PULLMAN (AP) — Josh Heytvelt scored 22 points and No. 4 Gonzaga broke open a close game in the second half and went on to a 74-52 victory over Washington State on Wednesday night.
Austin Daye added 14 points and Jeremy Pargo had 11 for the Bulldogs (7-0) ended a two-game losing streak to their regional rival.
Washington State (6-3) was in the game in the first half, when it managed to impose its slowdown style of play. But the Cougars fell completely apart early in the second half when Gonzaga scored 15 straight points.
All three of Washington State’s losses have been to ranked teams, including Pittsburgh and Baylor. The Cougars fell to 1-73 all-time against top 5 teams, beating Oregon State in 1980.
Aron Baynes and DeAngelo Casto had 10 points each for Washington State, but point guard Taylor Rochestie continued his slump, scoring six points on 2-of-11 shooting. Leading scorer Klay Thompson was held to four points.
Leading 32-31 early in the second half, the Zags forced Washington State into numerous turnovers and scored 15 straight points to build a 47-31 lead. Heytvelt, limited to nine minutes and five points in the first half because of foul trouble, had six points in the run.
After Baynes finally scored for Washington State on a goaltending call, Gonzaga scored 12 straight points–for a 27-2 run–to take a 59-33 lead with 11 minutes left. The Cougars were 2-of-11 from the field and committed six turnovers in the span, while the Zags shot 10-of-16.
The game started as a defensive battle, and was tied at 13 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Zags took a 32-29 halftime lead, thanks to going 6-of-13 on 3-pointers. Washington State shot 32 percent in the first half, including 1-of-10 from 3-point range.
The Zags beat Oklahoma State, Maryland, No. 8 Tennessee and Indiana in their previous four games.
The Zags came in averaging 80 points per game, 35 more than the Cougars allow on average.
Washington State beat Gonzaga 51-47 in Spokane last December. Two years ago the Cougars won 77-67 in Pullman in a game that saw Washington State fans storm the court and launched the Cougars into the national spotlight.
Washington State lost to No. 22 Baylor last Saturday, and had not lost consecutive nonconference games at home since 1985-86, when it lost to Wisconsin and Nebraska.