PULLMAN, Wash. (AP)—Enough of the circus shots, Washington State coach Dick Bennett told his players at the half.
And just like they did Jan. 7 in Seattle, the Cougars came out with a solid second period—with lots more rebounds and focused shots—to rally for a 77-64 victory on Saturday, sweeping the No. 16 Washington Huskies for the first time in 12 years.
“At halftime, we talked about `Let’s just show some semblance of a half-court defense and some offense,”’ Bennett said. “We took a lot of circus shots in the first half.”
Aron Baynes scored 13 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds—10 in the second half—as Washington State snapped a six-game conference losing streak.
Josh Akognon had 14 points for the Cougars (10-9, 3-7 Pac-10), who overcame a 35-30 halftime deficit by turning up the defensive pressure and forcing turnovers.
The Cougars, who opened the second half with an 11-0 run, outrebounded Washington 39-33.
Washington (16-5, 5-5) lost its third straight conference game despite a 21-point, nine-rebound effort by Brandon Roy. Justin Dentmon scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half, while Bobby Jones added 10 for the Huskies before fouling out with 5:15 remaining.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said he didn’t know if his team was suffering fatigue after a heartbreaking 76-67 overtime loss last week at Stanford.
“We didn’t play with the same amount of energy in the second half, and they made a conscious effort to go inside,” Romar said. “When we lose leads, you can always point to us not playing with enough intensity.”
Robbie Cowgill also scored 13 points for Washington State, which upset then-No. 10 Washington in Seattle on Jan. 7. This was the Cougars’ first sweep of their cross-state rivals since 1993-94.
Bennett saw parallels in the series with Washington.
“This was similar in that they rattled us early, but prior to the half, we made up some ground,” he said. “We had a pretty solid second period.”
Ivory Clark scored 10 points and had three blocks for the Cougars in front of 8,770 screaming fans. It was the largest crowd at Friel Court since Feb. 8, 1996, when Washington State beat Oregon State.
“We got some offensive rebounds in the second half and the fact that our half court defense was better … particularly from Ivory Clark,” Bennett said. “He made Brandon Roy work for everything he got.”
Baynes, a 6-foot-10 freshman center from Australia, gave the Cougars an inside presence in the second half, when he grabbed 10 of his 12 rebounds.
“Aron Baynes’ presence was the single biggest factor in the second half,” Bennett said. “Baynes was our steady rebounder and I though Ivory gave us steady defense.”
Washington State jumped to a 14-9 lead, but the Huskies stormed back during two long Cougars’ scoring droughts to build a 26-16 lead.
Washington led 35-30 at halftime, but WSU tied it at 35, then went ahead on two dunks by Clark. The Cougars led 41-35 before Roy hit two foul shots with 15:05 remaining.
Washington’s Jon Brockman had all six of his rebounds in the first half.
Akognon—who scored a career-high 27 points in the first meeting in Seattle — was held to three points in the second half as the Cougars went to their big men, Baynes and Cowgill.
“I thought Cowgill was effective against pressure, Bennett said. “If Kyle (Weaver) couldn’t bring it up, Robbie got it done.”
Sophomore Kyle Weaver, who had a career-high 19 points against Washington last month, had seven on Saturday.
Washington shot 32.2 percent (19-for-59) from the field, while Washington state hit 48 percent (24-for-50).
Romar said he will work to ensure his team has the needed intensity when it meets Southern California in Seattle on Thursday.
“It’s up to me as head coach to make sure we have it from here on out,” he said.