FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Marcus Moore scored 20 points and played stifling second-half defense and Washington State defeated Alaska Fairbanks 57-51 on Saturday in the semifinals of the BP Top of the World Classic.
Moore shot eight for 19 from the field and held Nanooks' leading scorer Brad Oleson without a second-half field goal until just 3:41 remained in the game.
Moore's steal and layup gave the Cougars (2-0) their biggest lead of the first half, 13-5, with 14:29 remaining. Oleson replied with a 3-pointer and sparked a 13-2 run that gave the Nanooks an 18-15 lead.
A baseline jumper by Oleson pushed the lead to 27-21 with 6:08 remaining and the Division II Nanooks, who won the tournament last year, went into the locker room at halftime leading 30-26.
The Cougars caught fire in the second half behind Moore and Thomas Kelati, who finished with 14 points and shot four for eight from beyond the 3-point line.
Rice beat St. Mary's 69-55 in Saturday's other semifinal. Rice and Washington State will play in tonight's tourney final.
In Saturday's consolation bracket games, Idaho State beat Binghamton 78-62 and Texas-San Antonio beat VMI 68-52.
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