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Rochestie, Washington State cruise past California

Feb 29, 2008 - 8:02 AM BERKELEY, California (Ticker) -- Taylor Rochestie bounced back from a pair of poor performances in a big way, leading No. 22 Washington State to a 70-49 victory over California in a Pac-10 Conference matchup on Thursday.

Kyle Weaver added 17 points and Derrick Low chipped in 15 for the Cougars, who shot 70 percent (14-of-20) in the second half to turn a close contest at the half into a laugher.

Rochestie, who had combined to shoot 7-of-24 from the floor for 24 points in the past two games, connected on 6-of-9 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from the arc. The junior guard also contributed five rebounds and six assists.

Up 31-26 at the break, Washington State (22-6, 10-6 Pac-10) scored the first six points of the second half to open up a 37-26 advantage with 16:30 remaining.

The Cougars continued to extend the lead, hitting 11 of their first 12 shots of the half to push the lead to 62-42 on Robbie Cowgill's dunk with 6:32 left to play. Rochestie hit three 3-pointers and Low had 10 points during the spurt.

"I thought our help defense coming off those screens wasn't good," California coach Ben Braun said. "They screen as well as any team in our league and they really play well off each other, and I thought we did a poor job getting through those screens. They had some pretty good looks and of course they knocked them down. They shot the ball pretty well.

"But the second half, they came out and went for 66 percent, and they found ways to get open looks, and I thought their team did a great job of getting looks by rotating the ball and showing screen patience. I thought Washington State played very patient offensively and they took advantage of every opportunity they could."

The Bears (15-11, 6-9) would get no closer than 64-49, and Rochestie and Weaver combined for the final six points of the game to seal the victory.

"You can't get frustrated," Braun said. "You're going to make some mistakes. But as I told our guys, I really was disappointed and I think our team was frustrated. That's a key word right now: our team played frustrated."

Washington State has won five of its last six games, and pulled into sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 with the win, one game ahead of Southern California, which lost to Arizona on Thursday.

"That was a significant win," Washington State coach Tony Bennett said. "I told the guys you have to play solid and that is what they did.

"I'll take that (10 Pac-10 wins) anytime - that's impressive. It's a harder league this year and we pulled through."

The Cougars led by as many as 31-20 in the first half before going cold and missing their final four shots of the opening frame. Aron Baynes scored eight of his 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first half and finished the contest with eight rebounds.

"Washington State has a way, if you're not at your best, they will expose you because they'll play at a level, and I thought they did that tonight," Braun said.

Ryan Anderson led the way with 17 points for Cal, which committed 16 turnovers and shot 37 percent (18-of-49) from the floor.

"You can get away with double-figure turnovers against a lot of teams," Braun said. "If you turn it over against Washington State, it's like committing double the turnovers, because they're going to take advantage of it. They got 21 point off turnovers. When you turn it over, they make you pay. They're a veteran team - they've got seniors and they play like it."