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No. 19 WSU ties school record for conference wins by beating UCLA 77-65

Mar 2, 2024, 7:16 PM | Updated: 9:38 pm

WSU Jaylen Wells...

WSU's Jaylen Wells in action against UCLA on March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Jaylen Wells matched a career high with 27 points, including 11 in the final 7 1/2 minutes as No. 19 WSU beat UCLA 77-65 on Saturday.

WSU 77, UCLA 65: Stats

The Cougars (23-7, 14-5) rallied for the second time in two days to stay a half-game behind first-place Arizona in the Pac-12 race. They reached 23 wins for the first time since 2007, and their 14th victory in conference play equaled a school record.

Washington State still has a chance to win the Pac-12 regular-season title, but will need Arizona to drop at least one game next weekend.

With 7:23 left, UCLA guard Will McClendon was called for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected for hitting Washington State’s Isaac Jones below the waist. The ejection sent Bruins coach Mick Cronin into a tizzy and fired up both the Cougars and the Beasley Coliseum crowd.

Jones missed both free throws after the flagrant foul, but Wells made a 3-pointer – his third of the game – to tie the score and start an 8-0 run by the Cougars.

Washington State ended the game on a 22-7 spurt.

Myles Rice had 18 points for the Cougars, who have their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 since February 2008.

Wells, a 6-foot-8 junior, was 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. He also scored 27 points in a win at No. 4 Arizona in February.

Dylan Andrews led UCLA (14-15, 9-9) with 21 points. Lazar Stefanovic had 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Bruins quickly erased a 40-32 halftime deficit and controlled a big chunk of the second half with strong post play. Adem Bona and Aday Mara combined for 12 points to give UCLA a 56-53 advantage. But the Bruins made just two shots over the final nine minutes.

After a second straight sluggish start at home, Washington State outscored UCLA 34-13 over the final 13 minutes of the first half.

BIG PICTURE

UCLA: A frustrating season continues. The Bruins controlled the first part of both halves but ran into foul trouble and couldn’t get enough stops as they lost their fourth straight game.

WSU: The Cougars continued their recent shaky but resilient play. They’ve lacked offensive rhythm and struggled to hit timely free throws — especially Jones, who was 3 of 8 from the line. But they made buckets when it counted.

UP NEXT

UCLA: Hosts No. 6 Arizona on Thursday.

WSU: Hosts rival Washington on Thursday.

No. 19 WSU rallies from 12 points down to top USC 75-72

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