PULLMAN, Wash. (CBS) – Washington State’s Klay Thompson hit a key jumper, made two free throws and got two important rebounds in overtime, and thus, Northwestern lost to the Cougars 69-66 on Wednesday night.
Now Washington State advances to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
“I felt like we battled,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “The game went back and forth, back and forth. At the end we had a few good looks at a 3, we just didn’t make it happen.”
Thompson scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, include getting four of the Cougars’ five in the overtime. Washington State (22-12) had five players finish in double figures.
The Cougars will play Wichita State, which beat College of Charleston on Wednesday, in the semifinals in New York on Tuesday.
Brock Motum added 13 points and six rebounds for the Cougars, while DeAngelo Casto, Reggie Moore and Faisal Aden had 11 points each.
“We did a nice job battling a tough Northwestern team tonight,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said. “We all showed a lot of character, especially down the stretch in the overtime period.”
Michael Thompson scored 20 points for Northwestern (20-14) and Alex Marcotullio added 16 points. The Wildcats were 10 of 38 from 3-point range.
Washington State led 64-62 with 4 seconds remaining in regulation. Casto was called for goaltending a drive by John Shurna to tie the game.
Northwestern fouled Washington State’s Abe Lodwick with 0.2 seconds remaining but he missed both free throws.
Klay Thompson hit the first shot in overtime and made two free throws to give the Cougars a 68-66 lead with just over a minute to play. Reggie Moore would make one of two from the line to give the Cougars a 69-66 lead.
“I thought we did a nice job defensively defending the 3-pointers and not getting back-doored,” Bone said. “This is a very good shooting team and they have a tough offense to defend.”
Northwestern’s Michael Thompson had two good looks at a 3-pointer but could not convert.
Casto was reinstated to play in the game. Athletic director Bill Moos said new information prompted him to lift the suspension that was imposed on Casto on Tuesday after he was cited for marijuana possession.
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