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Hot ticket: Washington State could draw as many as 10,000 for Klay Thompson jersey retirement

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 15, 2020

Washington State guard Klay Thompson  shakes hand with the student section crowd after a NIT quarterfinal game against Northwestern on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Pullman. (Dean Hare / AP)
Washington State guard Klay Thompson shakes hand with the student section crowd after a NIT quarterfinal game against Northwestern on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Pullman. (Dean Hare / AP)

PULLMAN – Klay Thompson fills seats.

If that fact wasn’t driven home enough during the sharpshooter’s time at Washington State, it will be again when Thompson returns to Pullman to see his jersey hung in the rafters of Beasley Coliseum.

Not since Thompson’s third and final college season have the Cougars drawn 10,000 fans to Pullman, but the occasion of his jersey retirement could bring at least that many to the 11,600-seat venue for a 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks) tipoff against Oregon State on Saturday.

A school official confirmed to The Spokesman-Review that approximately 7,900 tickets had been sold as of Wednesday afternoon. If that number stood, it would signify the largest crowd for a home game since Gonzaga in 2015 and the largest for a Pac-12 game since Washington in 2011-12.

But WSU expects that number to creep toward 10,000 by Saturday. Students have already picked up 2,600 tickets, and it’s anticipated the entire allotment of 3,500 will be claimed by tipoff.

Ticket sales spiked on Tuesday night, when it was learned one of the NBA’s top stars, Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, would be in town for his teammate’s retirement ceremony along with other members of the Warriors organization, including Zaza Pachulia and Mike Dunleavy.

The school will also open the upper bowl of Beasley Coliseum for the first time since the 2015-16 basketball season, although WSU will try to avoid selling tickets in certain parts of the arena where views may be obstructed.

It’s been 10 years since the Cougars last sold out a basketball game in Pullman, drawing 11,671 to a nonconference game against Kansas State during Thompson’s junior season. The Wildcats beat WSU on an off night for the Cougars’ top player – Thompson scored 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting. The Cougars drew 10,579 to a rivalry game against Washington later that same season, in which Thompson scored 25 points to lead his team past the Isaiah Thomas-led Huskies.

The seat map on the school’s ticketing page shows the lower bowl at Beasley Coliseum being completely sold out, with the exception of a few $47 seats available behind the east basket. Tickets are still available online in the upper bowl, for $17 and $27 depending on the location.

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