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UW spoils WSU’s Pac-12 men’s basketball title hopes

Huskies win 74-38 in last conference game between cross-state rivals

By JOSH WRIGHT, Associated Press
Published: March 7, 2024, 9:08pm
2 Photos
Washington guard Koren Johnson (0) passes the ball next to Washington State guard Myles Rice (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Pullman, Wash.
Washington guard Koren Johnson (0) passes the ball next to Washington State guard Myles Rice (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) Photo Gallery

PULLMAN — Koren Johnson scored 23 points, Keion Brooks Jr. added 22 and Washington knocked off No. 18 Washington State 74-68 in the final Pac-12 Conference matchup between the cross-state rivals.

Johnson nailed a corner 3-pointer with 1:21 left that proved to be the final blow, putting the Huskies up 68-61.

Washington State (23-8, 14-6) failed to get stops at critical moments and shot 4 of 24 from 3-point range.

The Cougars were hoping for their first conference title since 1941. To get it, they needed a win and one Arizona loss in its final two games — or two Arizona losses. And by the time Washington State’s game against Washington was over, Arizona had built a big lead against UCLA.

As for the Huskies, they spoiled what had been a charmed season at home for the Cougars in the final meeting between the schools as members of the Pac-12. The hoops version of the Apple Cup is likely to continue, but it will be with the Cougars in the West Coast Conference and the Huskies in the Big Ten.

It was Washington’s first road win over a ranked opponent since beating Kansas on Dec. 6, 2017.

Washington (17-14, 9-11) used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good, which included a 3 from Brooks and Johnson’s jumper to make it 61-53.

The Cougars pulled to 63-60, but couldn’t get closer. Washington State struggled badly at the free-throw line, hitting just 8 of 17.

Isaac Jones led Washington State with 20 points but was 2 of 8 from the foul line. Leading scorer Myles Rice was held to eight points on 2-of-9 shooting.

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