Huskies squander lead, fall to Aztecs

December 9, 2013 

SAN DIEGO — After a promising first half in which Washington held a nine-point lead at the break, the Huskies gave it all back to No. 24 San Diego State.

C.J. Wilcox led Washington (4-4) with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough in a 70-63 loss on Sunday. Nigel Williams-Goss added 14 for the Huskies, who were coming off a win against Long Beach State, which was ranked No. 24 at the time.

“We were trying to pack it in,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I thought we did a good job in the first half of staying tight defensively. The second half, I think (San Diego State’s) pressure bothered us a little bit.”

Washington didn’t make a field goal in the second half until Wilcox hit a 3-pointer with 12:43 remaining.

Wilcox gave the Huskies a brief 41-40 lead with a layup with 11:24 to play, but San Diego State scored seven unanswered points, capped by Matt Shrigley’s 3-point shot, to build a 47-41 edge.

“They gained a little momentum,” Romar said. “We started to chase them more on the perimeter, and they started to drive to the basket more and made us pay.”

Xavier Thames, a former Washington State player, scored 19 points, and Winston Shepard added 17 for the Aztecs (7-1), who won their sixth game in a row.

“We shot about as poorly in the first half as we ever have, but we still played defense,” Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said. “We didn’t let them run away and hide. In the second half, we got some shots, and the defense got even better.”

The Aztecs opened the second half with a 17-2 run, taking the lead on a jump shot by Thames with 14:59 remaining. JJ O’Brien scored five straight points during the run.

“We all missed our shots, but we didn’t hang our heads,” Thames said of the first half. “We talked about coming out strong in the second half, and that’s what we did.”

The Huskies cut their deficit to 65-63 on a 3-pointer by Williams-Goss with 43 seconds remaining, but Shepard sank five free throws down the stretch to preserve the advantage for the Aztecs.

Washington built a 30-21 lead at the break while San Diego State shot 28 percent from the field, including a 1-for-7 performance from 3-point range.

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