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Washington State 64, San Diego State 54

SEATTLE (AP) -- Kyle Weaver went to coach Tony Bennett and asked
for the chance to defend San Diego State's standout guard Brandon
Heath.

The request not only helped Washington State defensively, but
ignited Weaver's offense as well.

Weaver scored all 16 of his points in the second half, igniting
a surge that carried the Cougars to a 64-54 win over San Diego
State on Thursday night. The Cougars finished up the non-conference
portion of their schedule 11-1, their best start since winning the
first 12 games in 1991-92. Washington State opens Pac-10 Conference
play next Thursday night at No. 1 UCLA.

"Anytime you have to guard somebody like that, you have to be
aggressive like that, it flips offensively too," Weaver said.
"You have to be aggressive on offense."

The Cougars got it done at both ends of the floor in the second
half, rallying from a 33-23 halftime deficit and holding the Aztecs
scoreless for a 10-minute stretch of the second half.

Washington State took its cue from Weaver, who scored 10 points
in the first 7:14 of the second half, then clamped down on Heath,
the all-time leading scorer in the Mountain West Conference.

Weaver's intensity was the catalyst for a 21-0 Washington State
run. Derrick Low's runner with 13:20 left pulled the Cougars even
at 37-all. On the Cougars' next possession Weaver was blocked, but
stayed with the play, grabbed the loose ball and spun up a
left-handed reverse layup to give Washington State its first lead
since 15-13.

"We just had some more scrap and we're not close to good enough
if we don't play with our hair on fire or whatever," Washington
State coach Bennett said of the second half. "They have to have
that going for them on the defensive end or it's really hard for
us."

The Cougars lead continued to grow as Nikola Koprivica and
Robbie Cowgill and Low all drilled 3-pointers. Weaver's two free
throws with 6:41 left gave Washington State its biggest lead of 14
points. Ivory Clark capped the night by slamming home Low's missed
drive with 1:10 left.

Cowgill finished with a career-high 17 points and Koprivica
added 11 as the Cougars shot 55 percent in the second half. Weaver
also had 11 rebounds.

"We had a little energy and we just fought like dogs," Weaver
said.

Heath led the Aztecs (10-3) with 20 points, but went 17 minutes
of the second half without scoring, as Aztecs' coach Steve Fisher
was denied his 300th career win. Fisher's next chance will be Dec.
30 when the Aztecs host Lafayette.

Heath made a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, but shot just 2 of
7 in the second half and got very little help from his teammates.
Mohamed Abukar finally broke the Aztecs' scoring drought with a
three-point play with 7:15 left. Abukar was the only other Aztec
player in double figures with 12 points, but San Diego State shot
only 45 percent, turned the ball over 20 times and was held 25
points under its season average.

"We did a poor job from our end of being poised under pressure.
When they made a run and made a couple shots, then we tried to do
things too fast," Fisher said. "We turned it over, made passes
that had no chance to be completed and took some shots that were
ill-advised too."

It was the second consecutive year the Cougars have played a
home game at Seattle's KeyArena. Last year, Washington State beat
Utah 69-42.

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