March 5, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP and staff) - Malcolm Lee hit four free throws in the closing seconds of overtime to lift UCLA to a 58-54 victory over wounded Washington State on Saturday.
Arizona's victory earlier in the day prevented UCLA (22-9, 13-5 Pac-10) from having a chance to tie the Wildcats for the Pac-10 title.
The Bruins, who trailed by 15 in the first half and 13 (32-19) at halftime, allowed just 22 points in the second half and overtime to lock up the No. 2 seed in next week's Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center.
UCLA will open play in the first game of Thursday's evening session (6:00 pm) versus the winner of Wednesday night's game between No. 7 seed Oregon and No. 10-seed Arizona State.
Washington State (19-11, 9-9) played without suspended star Klay Thompson and injured point guard Reggie Moore. But it nearly managed to break a home losing streak to UCLA that now stands at 18.
Faisal Aden hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 54 with 1:17 left.
The Bruins turned it over on a shot clock violation, but the Cougars gave it right back whe Tyler Honeycutt forced a turnover than Reeves Nelson grabbed and passed to Lee, who was fouled while going for a layup with 6.9 seconds left. He made both for a 56-54 lead. Washington State turned over the ball on the inbounds play and had to foul. Lee made both for the final points.
Thompson, leading scorer in the Pac-10 at 21 points per game, was suspended for the game after he was cited for marijuana possession on Thursday night. Moore suffered an ankle injury in Thursday's victory over USC.