Bouldin scores 28, No. 17 Gonzaga beats WSU 74-69
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)—Matt Bouldin and his Gonzaga teammates weren’t about to let their neighbors beat them in their own backyard.
Bouldin scored a career-high 28 points and the 17th-ranked Bulldogs pulled off a big comeback for a 74-69 victory over Washington State on Wednesday night.
Elias Harris scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds for gritty Gonzaga (6-1), which held the Cougars without a field goal for 10 minutes in the late going to overcome a 13-point second-half deficit.
“We didn’t want them to beat us here,” said Bouldin, who made seven 3-pointers.
The schools are located 70 miles apart in eastern Washington. Washington State leads the series 97-47 but has won only two of the past 11 meetings.
Gonzaga is 65-3 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.
“That was one of the most courageous performances I have seen in this building,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.
Bouldin said his choice for most valuable player would be Steven Gray, who scored just four points but expended most of his effort guarding WSU’s Klay Thompson, the nation’s leading scorer.
Thompson scored 15 points, 13 below his average, on just 6 of 21 shooting. He had 43 points in his previous outing against San Diego as Washington State won the championship game at the Great Alaska Shootout.
“I don’t think Klay had an easy shot all night,” Bouldin said.
DeAngelo Casto had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (6-1), while Xavier Thames added 11 points.
Washington State led by as many as 15 points in the first and 39-27 at halftime. Reggie Moore scored five straight points for a 48-35 WSU lead with 15 minutes left.
But Moore’s basket that gave the Cougars a 58-46 lead with just over 10 minutes left was the last field goal the Cougars made until the closing seconds.
“Some of our guys thought the game was won already,” Moore said.
Gonzaga fought back, shooting nearly 63 percent in the second half. Bouldin hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 10-2 run that pulled the Bulldogs within 60-56 with 8:43 left.
Consecutive steals by Gonzaga led to a layup and 3-pointer by Bouldin that cut WSU’s lead to 62-61 with 4:18 left. Thompson and Moore each made one free throw for the Cougars.
Harris’ inside basket tied it at 63 and his dunk gave the Zags a 65-64 lead, their first since the early going, with 3:14 left. Kelly Olynyk’s dunk made it 67-64.
Harris and Olynyk each added a pair of free throws, and the Cougars were harassed into turnovers and misses, in part because of a boisterous full house.
“I’ve never been through a crowd like this before,” Moore said. “It’s so loud, you can’t even call a play.”
Thompson’s basket with 23 seconds left was WSU’s first field goal in 10 minutes and its first points in 3 minutes.
“That’s why you have to play 40 minutes, not just 32 good minutes,” Thompson said. “We just weren’t mentally focused in the last 10 minutes.”
Bouldin made eight of 15 shots, including seven of 12 3-pointers. Harris, a freshman, was 8 of 11 from the field. Olynyk, also a freshman, finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Washington State coach Ken Bone is one of three opposing coaches to win at the MAC, when his Portland State team upset Gonzaga last season. He said his young team did not have the experience to handle the situation in the second half.
“We kept doing the things that got us the lead,” Bone said. “We didn’t change the game plan at all.”
Gonzaga hosts Wake Forest on Saturday.