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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State survived its second straight nonconference scare as Charles Callison scored a career-high 16 and the Cougars beat Sacramento State 74-66 on Wednesday night.
Just four days after rallying for a 69-68 win over Santa Clara, Washington State (7-5) had to grind out a win over a pesky Hornets squad. The Cougars led 47-33 at one point in the second half before Sacramento State (3-8) rallied to take a 60-58 lead with 3:28 to go.
"We missed a lot of wide open shots," WSU coach Ernie Kent said. "(Many players) had looks and we've been shooting the lights out of the ball the last few days in practice so maybe our minds are on traveling home."
The Cougars needed a 14-2 run to get past Santa Clara on Saturday, and scored 10 of the last 13 points on Wednesday. They found an answer for Sacramento State's Marcus Graves, who led the all scorers with 21 points but didn't make a shot the last 10:56 of the game.
WSU freshman Malachi Flynn knotted the game at 60 with a baseline jumper, and Robert Franks gave the Cougars some breathing room with his layup and free throw with 2:11 to go.
The Cougars were clinging to a 66-63 lead when Callison provided a big layup to pad the lead, and then sank four more free throws to seal it — WSU's first back-to-back wins over Division I opponents this season.
"There's going to be a lot of games like that when we get into the Pac-12," said WSU senior Ike Iroegbu, who scored 15 points. "The Pac is very competitive and every game is about to come down to the wire, so it's better that we get these games established that come down to the wire and learn how to finish them out."
Sacramento State: The Hornets go into Big Sky play on a losing note, but Marcus Graves has found his rhythm. The junior now has 21 points in each of his last two games.
Washington State: Conor Clifford had 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. His presence in the paint was big as leading scorer Josh Hawkinson was held to a season-low eight points.
Sacramento State hosts Northern Colorado on Dec. 29.
Washington State will play at Washington on Jan. 1.
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