WSU

Wells, No. 21 WSU beat No. 4 Arizona 77-74 as Cougs now lead Pac-12

Feb 22, 2024, 10:57 PM

WSU Arizona Pac-12...

WSU's Rueben Chinyelu defends against Arizona's Oumar Ballo on Feb. 22, 2024. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

(Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Jaylen Wells had a 4-point play in the final minute and scored 27 points to help No. 21 WSU beat No. 4 Arizona 77-74 on Thursday night for its eighth straight victory.

WSU 77, Arizona 74: Stats

Washington State (21-6, 12-4 Pac-12) won in its first game in the AP Top 25 since the 2007-08 season and leapfrogged the Wildcats (20-6, 11-4) for first place in the conference race.

The game was tight the entire night — neither team led by more than seven points. And the final minute was a thriller.

Arizona’s Caleb Love drove to the hoop for a layup and got fouled with 51.2 seconds left, hitting the free throw to complete the 3-point play for a 74-71 lead. Wells responded on the next possession with a corner 3 — also while being fouled — and made the free throw for a 4-point play and a 75-74 lead with 24.6 seconds left.

The Wildcats had a chance to win, but Love was called for traveling after slipping and falling on a drive to the basket with 4.7 seconds left. Wells hit two free throws with 2.7 seconds left for a 77-74 lead that sealed the game.

Arizona lost for the first time at home this season after winning 13 straight. Love led the Wildcats with 27 points and Oumar Ballo had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Wells shot 9 of 16 from the field, including 6 of 10 on 3-pointers. Isaac Jones added 16 points.

Washington State’s first offensive possession resulted in a rushed 3-pointer that didn’t even touch the rim, but the Cougars adjusted to the raucous atmosphere quickly, leading for a big chunk of the first half.

The Cougars took a 34-33 lead into the break. Wells scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first half, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.

BIG PICTURE

WSU: The Cougars certainly looked like a team that deserved a national ranking, playing well in a hostile environment. Now they’re in the driver’s seat of the Pac-12 race — something few expected when the season started.

Arizona: The Wildcats have had games this season where they’ve looked like one of the best teams in the country. This wasn’t one of them. Spotty shot selection caught up with them in the end.

UP NEXT

WSU: At Arizona State on Saturday night.

Arizona: Hosts Washington on Saturday.

WSU men’s basketball cracks AP Top 25, ending 302-week drought

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Wells, No. 21 WSU beat No. 4 Arizona 77-74 as Cougs now lead Pac-12