POSTED: 03:51 p.m. HST, Dec 23, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 04:51 p.m. HST, Dec 23, 2010
Washington State withstood a furious second-half charge by No. 15 Baylor and advanced to the title game of the 2010 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with a 77-71 victory.
After Baylor fell behind by 20 with 14 minutes to play, guard LaceDarius Dunn led the Bears all the way back with 25 of his 29 points in the second half.
But WSU regained its composure, and guard Klay Thompson hit the biggest shot of the game, a top-arc 3 for a 71-67 lead with 1:08 left. The Cougars held off the Bears at the free-throw line from there.
"Our guys persevered, showed a lot of character down the stretch by pulling that game out," WSU coach Ken Bone said.
Thompson led the Cougars (10-1) despite battling foul trouble all game. He needed only eight shots for his 20 points in 27 minutes.
After a 7-0 start to the season, Baylor (8-2) lost for the second time in three games.
Athletic Baylor's switch back to a man-to-man defense — plus a ridiculous scoring spree by Dunn — allowed them to take a 64-61 lead.
Dunn started the game 1-for-12 from the field, including 0-for-11 on 3-pointers. But he went 12-for-12 at the foul line and hit several difficult hanging jumpers.
"Missing 11 straight 3s, I don't think I ever did that in my career, terrible," said Dunn, the second-leading scorer in Baylor history. "I knew I had to come out in the second half and bring something to the table."
Dunn hit a 3-pointer to pull BU within 68-67 with 1:37 to play, but Thompson came right back the dagger shot, a 25-footer from straight away.