By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
The Associated Press
PULLMAN, Wash. – C.J. Wilcox scored 18 points and Washington beat poor-shooting Washington State 68-63 on Saturday night.
Scott Suggs scored three late baskets to help Washington (9-5, 1-0 Pac-12) successfully begin its defense of last year’s Pac-12 regular season title.
Mike Ladd scored 15 points to lead Washington State (9-5, 0-1), which has lost four straight to its cross-state rival.
The Huskies jumped to a big early lead and poor shooting plagued Washington State much of the game.
Washington State was scoreless in the first five minutes of the game to fall behind 9-0. Consecutive 3-pointers by Suggs and Wilcox pushed Washington’s lead to 17-4 and the Cougars had trouble even attempting shots on several of their possessions.
Shawn Kemp Jr. made back-to-back dunks as Washington built a 21-4 lead and the Cougars were just 2 of 13 from the field at that point.
Washington State rallied for a 13-4 run, capped by Ladd’s 3-pointer, which cut Washington’s lead to 25-17 with 4:37 left in the first half.
Wilcox had 13 points in the first half the Huskies shot 52 percent from the floor. Washington State shot just 27 percent from the field in the first half.
Washington led 34-27 at halftime, and the Cougars scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut the lead to three points, but a 3-pointer by Abdul Gaddy and a basket by Wilcox pushed Washington’s lead to 39-31.
Washington State found its range and Ladd’s basket cut Washington’s lead to 46-42 with 10 minutes left.
Brock Motum’s basket tied the score at 48 with 7:54 left, and his 3-pointer less than a minute later gave the Cougars their first lead at 51-50.
Motum finished with 15.
The teams swapped leads, with Will DiIorio hitting a pair of 3-pointers for Washington State as the Cougars led 59-58 with 3:10 left.
Suggs’ long jumper put Washington up 60-59 with 2:30 left. Motum was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made two free throws for a 61-60 Cougars lead. But Suggs scored on a jumper and a lay-up to give Washington a 64-61 lead with a minute left.
Ladd made a pair of free throws and Washington State closed within one at 64-63 with 41 seconds left. The Cougars were forced to foul and Andrew Andrews sank four free throws for the final score.
Washington is coming off a loss at Connecticut, but had won its four previous games. The Huskies lead the all-time series 175-100.