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November 30, 2007

No. 6 Washington State avoids upset at Baylor

WACO, Texas Derrick Low had a miserable shooting game until No. 6 Washington State needed its leading scorer the most.

Low hit consecutive 3-pointers in a span of 46 seconds to finally push the Cougars in front and they went on to a 67-64 victory Friday night over a scrappy Baylor team looking for a signature victory.

After being held scoreless in the first half, Low was only 1-of-8 shooting until he made a tying 3-pointer with 3:06 left. After Aaron Bruce missed a shot for Baylor (5-1), Low hit another 3 to make it 63-60 and the Cougars remained in front the rest of the way.

Low finished with nine points on three 3-pointers.

Washington State (7-0) is off to its best start since opening the 1991-92 season with 12 straight victories.

Baylor led 44-30 after Bruce made consecutive 3-pointers of his own. Baylor was its deepest into a season without a loss since it started 12-0 in 2000-01.

Robbie Cowgill led Washington State with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Aron Baynes and Daven Harmeling had 10 points apiece.

Bruce had 13 points for Baylor. Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn had 11 points.

Baylor last beat a ranked opponent in 2003, and is 2-42 against ranked teams over the past seven seasons. That is 29 losses in a row since beating Oklahoma State in February 2001.

The Bears were hoping to earn a much-needed highlight victory for coach Scott Drew.

Drew is going into the fifth year of a daunting rebuilding project. He took over after former coach Dave Bliss resigned following a scandal sparked by the slaying of former player Patrick Dennehy by a teammate.

There were NCAA penalties for wrongdoing uncovered during Bliss' tenure that forced the Bears to deal with depleted rosters and limited schedules. Drew and his players had to pay the price even though all the violations occurred before any of them arrived.

Finally last year, Baylor got to play a full regular season with a full roster under Drew and went 15-16.

A crowd of more than 10,000 people filled the Ferrell Center and watched Washington State jump out to a 7-0 lead over the first 3 minutes. But the Bears scored seven in a row of their own, with Jerrells penetrating the lane for a basket before freshman Dunn came off the bench to hit a 3-pionter then a tying basket.

Midway through the first half, Baylor finally went ahead when Henry Dugat drove to the basket, got fouled and made the free throw for a 16-14 lead.

The Bears led 38-26 at intermission. By then, Washington State already had 11 turnovers, after averaging less than 10 a game coming in. But the Cougars had only three turnovers after halftime, and got the needed boost from Low.

For more coverage of Baylor, check out SicEmSports.com.For more coverage of Washington State, check out CougZone.com.

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