Thompson leads Washington State over Gonzaga 81-59

By Nicholas K. Geranios

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 8 2010 11:22 p.m. MST

PULLMAN, Wash. — Klay Thompson scored 24 points and had six assists as Washington State beat cold-shooting Gonzaga 81-59 on Wednesday night in the annual battle of eastern Washington rivals.

Gonzaga (4-4) is suffering its worst start in Mark Few's 12 years as coach, with three of the losses to teams ranked among the top 16. Gonzaga again was victimized by 3-point shooting, giving up 11-of-21.

Thompson scored 21 of his points in the second half for Washington State (6-1), which has lost only to No. 5 Kansas State. Faisel Aden added 14 points.

The main scoreboard at Friel Court was not working, and neither was Gonzaga's shooting.

The Bulldogs, who came in averaging 48 percent from the field, shot 39 percent and committed 25 turnovers. Leading scorer Steven Gray, who averages 20 points, scored seven. Sam Dower led the Zags with 11 points, while Robert Sacre had 10 rebounds.

There were no field goals in the first four minutes. Marcus Capers dunked for Washington State at the 15:57 mark. Gonzaga had five turnovers and missed its first 10 shots before Gray hit a 3-pointer with 12:50 left. At that point Washington State led 8-3.

Washington State sank five 3-pointers in a 3-minute span during a 17-1 run for a 25-6 lead with 7:16 left in the half. Gonzaga had made just two of its first 17 shots at that point.

David Stockton, son of Gonzaga and NBA legend John Stockton, scored five straight points to key an 18-5 Gonzaga run that cut WSU's halftime lead to 30-24. The Cougars were scoreless in the last five minutes of the half.

But that was Gonzaga's only threat. Thompson scored nine points as Washington State made seven of its first eight shots to open the second half for a 47-31 lead.

Gonzaga went four minutes without a field goal as Washington State built a 56-35 lead with 11 minutes left, and ran away with the game.

The schools are located 75 miles apart, and WSU won for just the third time in the past 12 meetings.

Gonzaga's Elias Harris, a sophomore who is considered a pro prospect, has been slowed all season by an Achilles' injury and was held to six points.

Three-pointers have been Gonzaga's nemesis this season. They gave up 12 to Kansas State and 13 to Illinois, both losses.

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