Cougars Pull Away From Oral Roberts In Second Half, Advance With 70-54 Win
March 15, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Kyle Weaver stole an inbounds pass beneath his own basket and dunked to barely beat the halftime buzzer - and what a momentum swing for Washington State.
The Cougars rode it right into the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Reserve Ivory Clark scored 19 points and Weaver had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and third-seeded Washington State won its first NCAA game in 24 years, beating 14th-seeded Oral Roberts 70-54 Thursday in the East Regional.
Taylor Rochestie added 15 points and connected for a key 3-pointer late as Washington State pulled away with 59 percent shooting and one turnover in the second half. Clark provided a big boost off the bench by matching his career best with five blocks for the Cougars, whose special season will last at least another game.
They went from last place in the Pac-10 a year ago to second under first-year coach Tony Bennett. Fans chanted 'Tony! Tony!' before the game, then Washington State (26-7) went out and won its first NCAA tournament game since George Raveling's team beat Weber State 62-52 in 1983.
Ken Tutt scored 10 of his 19 points in the first half to lead Oral Roberts (23-11), the Mid-Continent Conference tournament champions who reached the NCAAs for the second straight season and fourth time overall. The Golden Eagles lost their opener for the second straight year.
The Cougars reached the tournament for the first time since current Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson led the school to the postseason in 1994 and a first-round loss to Boston College.
After a slow start with Weaver on the bench in foul trouble, the Cougars hit their final five shots of the first half and then their initial four after halftime to take control.