By Christian Caple The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN — Playing without leading scorer Brock Motum, Washington State found three other scorers and beat Pittsburgh 67-66 Monday night in Game 1 of the best-of-three CBI Finals.
Abe Lodwick scored 16 points, Reggie Moore had 14 and DaVonte Lacy added 10 for the Cougars.
“We all knew coming in we all had to step up,” Lodwick said. “It wasn’t changing our offense, but within our offense other guys had to be aggressive.”
Motum, who averages 18 points per game, sat on the bench dressed in a suit. He remains questionable for Wednesday’s second game of the series in Pittsburgh because of a right ankle injured in the semifinal win over Oregon State last week. Game three, if necessary, will be Friday in Pittsburgh.
Pitt had a couple of chances to win the game in the final 3.5 seconds. But Tray Woodall’s layup attempt was swatted away by Washington State’s D.J. Shelton. Then the Panthers’ Lamar Patterson missed a long jumper as time expired.
“We had two good looks and came up short,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “We need to guard better and defend better. Hopefully we’ll be better Wednesday.”
Woodall and J.J. Moore led Pitt with 16 points each, while Nasir Robinson had 11 points.
Pitt (20-17) and Washington State (19-16) will share the same charter flight back to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
“I imagine it will be quiet,” Lodwick said.
Trailing by three at halftime, Washington State opened the second half with a 10-4 run for a 45-42 lead with 16:07 left. Pitt tied the score a couple of times, but Washington State went on a 9-0 run to build a 60-48 lead with 8 minutes left.
Meanwhile, Pitt was held without a field goal for more than seven minutes, until Ashton Gibbs’ 3-pointer cut WSU’s lead to 60-51 with 7:03 left.
Washington State went cold and a 3-pointer by Woodall and dunk by Patterson brought Pittsburgh within 62-59 with 2:48 left.
Lodwick replied with a 3-pointer to put WSU up 65-59. J.J. Moore of Pitt was fouled trying a 3-pointer and made all three foul shots to cut WSU’s lead to 65-62 with 1:46 left.
Reggie Moore sank a long jumper as the shot clock expired to give the Cougars to a 67-62 lead.
Talib Zanna of Pitt completed a 3-point play to bring the Panthers within 67-65 with 1:01 left.
Lodwick missed a long jumper and Pitt got the ball back with 18 seconds left and called time out.
Patterson missed a shot and Zanna was fouled after he rebounded with 4.8 seconds left. He made the first free throw, but the second hit the front of the rim and Lodwick was fouled on the rebound with 4 seconds left.
Lodwick missed the front end of the one-and-one and Pitt rebounded with 3.5 seconds left and called time out, setting the stage for Woodall’s dash to try and win the game.
In the first half, Lodwick scored 10 points in a 3-minute span as Washington State built an early 17-12 lead. Pitt responded with a quick 13-0 run, taking a 25-17 lead on J.J. Moore’s 3-pointer. Washington State clawed back to within 31-29 on Moore’s free throws.
Pittsburgh led 38-35 at halftime, even though Washington State made 63 percent of its shots, including 5-of-7 3-pointers.. The Panthers shot 55 percent, making 7-of-13 from 3-point range.
Pitt finished 13th in the Big East while Washington State was 8th in the Pacific-12 this season. Oregon won the tournament last year.