Klay Thompson scored 19 points and Reggie Moore scored 16 as Washington State held off Air Force 75-68 on Saturday.
Marcus Capers added 12 points for Washington State (8-2). The Cougars relied on superior rebounding and a big free throw advantage to stay ahead of the Falcons.
Michael Lyons had a career-high 25 for Air Force (5-3). Grant Parker, who leads Air Force with 17 points per game, did not suit up because of a groin injury.
Washington State made 19 of 25 free throws, while Air Force made 11 of 13. The Cougars also had a 36-24 rebound advantage.
After leading 31-24 at halftime, Washington State scored nine-straight points early in the second half - including back-to-back 3-pointers by Moore and Thompson - for a 40-26 lead.
Lyons scored seven consecutive unanswered points as Air Force pulled within 42-35 with 13 minutes left.
The teams traded baskets until Air Force scored seven straight behind Tom Fow's basket and 3-pointer to cut WSU's lead to 57-55 with a little less than 7 minutes left.
But Capers scored seven-straight points as WSU rebuilt a 66-57 lead with 5 minutes left. Air Force could not make up the difference.
Washington State led 31-24 at halftime thanks to 46 percent shooting and a 19-13 rebounding advantage. Air Force shot just 39 percent in the first, including 2 of 13 3-pointers and did not shoot a free throw.
Todd Fletcher added 13 points and Mike McLain 11 for Air Force. Nik Koprivica had eight points and 11 rebounds for Washington State.
This game was played in the Spokane Arena, 70 miles north of the WSU campus in Pullman, to satisfy NCAA requirements that WSU officials put on a game at least once this season in the building where the school will host a portion of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in March.
The teams have played just once before, with WSU winning in 2007, also in the Spokane Arena.