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Huskies can’t hold halftime lead vs. San Diego St.

Mon., Dec. 9, 2013

Huskies Perris Blackwell, left, and Nigel Williams-Goss impede Winston Shepard. (Associated Press)
Huskies Perris Blackwell, left, and Nigel Williams-Goss impede Winston Shepard. (Associated Press)

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.

“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 12:49 left.

Wilcox gave the Huskies a brief 42-41 lead with a layup with 11:21 remaining, but San Diego State scored six 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 scored 19 points, and Winston Shepard added 17 for the Aztecs (7-1), who won their sixth straight.

“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. “We talked about coming out strong in the second half, and that’s what we did.”

The Huskies pulled within 65-63 on a 3-pointer by Williams-Goss with 29 seconds remaining, but Shepard sank two free throws to preserve the advantage for the Aztecs.

“I think those turnovers that we had in the beginning (of the second half) hurt us, and those two 3-pointers that (San Diego State) hit,” Huskies center Perris Blackwell said. “Our game plan was to kind of pack it in (defensively) because they weren’t necessarily shooters. That hurt us.”

Skylar Spencer blocked a career-high five shots and led San Diego State’s defensive stand.

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