Cougars hold off No. 15 Baylor, advance to Diamond Head Classic title game
HONOLULU – It was all too familiar – and for all the wrong reasons.
Having been in control of 15th-ranked Baylor from the onset, Washington State would only see its 20-point lead wither away in a second-half scene reminiscent of last season’s lapses.
When LaceDarius Dunn hit an off-balance jumper with 6:49 to give the Bears their first lead since the opening minutes, it looked as if a letdown was going to transpire.
But Washington State junior Klay Thompson wasn’t having any of that. Not this year.
Thompson answered with a 3 to give the Cougars the lead again and hit another just over a minute left including a pair of free throws to help the Cougars hold off the Big 12 power 77-71 in the Diamond Classic semifinal on Thursday.
Washington State (10-1), which allowed a 29-6 run down the stretch that nearly a detriment, will face Butler on Saturday in the tournament title game at 6:30 p.m. PST.
“Last year, we might have folded a little bit, giving up a 20-point lead, we may have let that get to our head,”, said Thompson, who had a team-high 20 points. “This year, we’ve got so many good players and such a close team that when we face adversity like that, we’re not going to fold. We’re going to stay strong and keep coming at you.”
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