Washington defense clamps down on No. 13 San Diego State
Lorenzo Romar and Washington are tired of being an afterthought. They want to return the Huskies to the Pac-12 elite and the national conversation.
Sunday night was a good start.
"We've had two years where we've been mediocre and guys don't want to be mediocre anymore," the coach said.
Nigel Williams-Goss scored 15 points, and Washington held No. 13 San Diego State to a school record for fewest points in the Huskies' 49-36 win.
Andrew Andrews added 13 points as Washington (7-0) posted only its second win over a ranked opponent since 2011 by beating the Aztecs at their own game and being better at the defensive end.
"We told our team before we even started practicing, that potentially we could be a really, really good defensive team," Romar said.
San Diego State (6-2) shot just 20.4 percent. It was the lowest shooting percentage for the Aztecs dating to 1996 and the second time this season under 25 percent in a game. San Diego State shot 24.6 percent in beating Cal State Bakersfield last month.
The 36 points were the fewest for San Diego State as a Division I program. The previous low was 38 against Utah in 1999.
"Our offense was bad. That's the only way you can put it and they had a lot to do with that," coach Steve Fisher said. "They had a lot to do with it but we had a lot to do with it also. They gave us nothing easy until the very end."
The matchup was a chance for Washington to prove its undefeated start wasn't a fluke. Washington improved to 7-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season and has one major test remaining before the start of Pac-12 play: a Dec. 20 matchup with Oklahoma in Las Vegas.
Andrews hit three 3-pointers in the second half as Washington methodically pulled away. Robert Upshaw continued to make an impact on the interior for the Huskies with seven points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
"We want to make a statement every game. Before the first game of the season we said `Let's make a statement,'" Williams-Goss said.
Washington pushed its lead to seven early in the second half when Williams-Goss knocked down a second-chance 3-pointer. Upshaw's baseline hook put the Huskies up 28-21. Upshaw then blocked Angelo Chol's shot and Andrews hit an open 3 for a 31-21 lead with 12:33 left.
Dakarai Allen hit the second of two free throws, but the Aztecs went cold again. Upshaw scored underneath and Andrews came off another screen to hit a 3 with 8:59 left, putting Washington up 36-22.
Andrews' third 3 of the half put the Huskies up 43-23 with 6:25 remaining.
Shepard led the Aztecs with seven points. No other San Diego State player scored more than five.
San Diego State went more than 11 minutes of the second half without a field goal, finally breaking the spell on Kevin Zabo's jumper with 2:57 remaining. The second-half drought followed a miserable first half when the Aztecs missed their first 10 shots and had a nine-minute stretch without a basket.
San Diego State led for all of 36 seconds -- at 2-0 -- on a pair of free throws from Skylar Spencer. Washington led for a whopping 36 minutes and 50 seconds.
San Diego State: The Aztecs made just 5 of 30 shots in the first half and were 1 of 9 on 3-pointers. They didn't start the second half any better. The Aztecs missed nine of their first 11 shots to begin the second half.
Washington: Upshaw continued to make a difference at the defensive end. The 6-foot-11 transfer entered with 29 blocks and added four more. His most impressive moment came late in the first half when he swatted Zabo's attempted 19-foot jumper leading to a run-out dunk for Williams-Goss.