Washington-San Diego St. Preview
San Diego State has surged into the Top 25 with five straight victories since a loss to Arizona last month.
Now the 24th-ranked Aztecs will get another shot at a Pac-12 opponent Sunday when Washington visits Viejas Arena.
There's been some excitement lately for both teams.
The Aztecs (6-1) escaped San Diego's buzzer-beater chance Thursday for a 65-64 road win. That followed single-digit wins over ranked opponents Creighton and Marquette en route to the Wooden Legacy championship over the weekend.
San Diego State had its best offensive rebounding game of the season to help edge the Toreros, finishing with a 19-6 advantage that led to a 29-2 second-chance scoring margin.
"That was a very, very exciting game on both sides if you came to watch," Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said. "The effort was sensational. I know the Torero fans are going away disappointed, but they got their money's worth and I think both crowds should be proud of how hard guys played. We won the game in no small part by the way we rebounded the ball, especially on the offensive end. We were sensational there."
"USD came out and played hard, and I'm just glad we got the win," Thames said. "Now we've got to move on and get ready for a good (Washington) team."
San Diego State has won 11 of its last 13 against current Pac-12 schools, with its only losses coming against Arizona, including a 69-60 defeat on Nov. 14.
The Huskies (4-3) needed double overtime for a 92-89 home win over Long Beach State on Nov. 30 after a four-point home win over Montana four days earlier.
"As we are getting healthier, mentally, physically, this is a great character win for us to pull it out," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar told the school's official website.
It's been a trying start to the season for Romar's team with losses to UC Irvine, Indiana and Boston College. The Huskies' wins over Seattle, Eastern Washington, Montana and Long Beach State have come by an average of 7.3 points.
With 6-foot-10 forward Jernard Jarreau out for the season with a torn right ACL suffered against Seattle, and Desmond Simmons sidelined until late-December while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, the Huskies have had to shuffle defenses and lineups.
"We're not playing good basketball right now ... Here we thought we had something and it's been taken away from us," Romar said. "We've never had a situation like this where we've had to improvise on the fly."
It's no surprise the scoring load has been largely handled by C.J. Wilcox. The fifth-year senior is averaging 22.6 points per game, though he's coming off his worst shooting night of the year. The guard went 5 for 17 with 15 points against Long Beach State, while junior college transfer Mike Anderson led six Huskies in double figures with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Washington leads the all-time series 2-0. The schools haven't met since 2004.
San Diego State is 73-4 against unranked opponents at Viejas since Feb. 23, 2008.