PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Derrien King scored 22 points and Washington State held on to beat Montana State 69-65 in the season opener Friday night.
Tyler Hall led the Bobcats with 32 points. The sophomore guard was an impressive 7 for 15 from the three-point line and a perfect 5 for 5 from the foul line.
Josh Hawkinson, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds, made a pair of free throws with 5:45 to play to put the Cougars up by 14. But behind the shooting efforts of Hall, the Bobcats closed to within 3 points 68-65 with 14 seconds to play on a deep three pointer by Hall.
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Tyler, forced to foul, sent King to the line made it a two-possession game.
''We had a lot of young guys out on the floor tonight,'' said Bobcat head coach Brian Fish. ''Tyler played really, really, really well. We've just got to get some other guys open.''
Washington State scored the first 11 points of the game and led 31-21 at the half as the Bobcats shot just 22 percent (8 of 36). But the Cougs turned the ball over 17 times.
WSU Coach Ernie Kent says he expected there to be growing pains as he works to speed up his team's game.
''Seventeen turnovers isn't bad, it's when you have those turnover it's bad,'' Kent said. ''We will settle into the speed … large crowds in games and stuff. In time that will be a little bit smoother.''
Montana State: After a slow start, the Bobcats clawed back, forcing the Cougs to shoot deep in the shot clock through much of the second half.
Washington State: Head coach Ernie Kent continues to tinker with his lineup, living up to his promise to be comfortable with a 10-man rotation.
Montana State: The Bobcats return home to face UL Lafayette on Monday.
Washington State: The Cougars travel to Kennewick, Washington for a neutral site game against Central Washington on Tuesday before heading to St. Thomas for the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam tournament.