San Diego State needed several swings in its favor to drop a pesky Washington Huskies team on Sunday, but the Aztecs hit enough free throws in a tense final minute to take a 70-63 win at home.
Point guard Xavier Thames led SDSU with 19 points and six assists, while teammate Winston Shepard, who added 17 points, grabbed two big rebounds in the final seconds and hit the final five foul shots to take the Aztecs over the top.
It wasn't an easy win for San Diego State.
The Huskies built a 27-17 lead on a C.J. Wilcox three-pointer with two minutes left in the first half, and Lorenzo Romar's team went into the break with a 30-21 advantage. The Aztecs would come out of halftime with a different aggressiveness.
Aided by several missed layups and seven UW turnovers, SDSU went on an 18-2 run -- most of the makes were layups or dunks -- over the course of the first seven minutes of the second half. Washington totaled 16 miscues by the end of the game.
Though Washington swingman C.J. Wilcox and freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss provided energy to respond with a 9-1 run and give the Huskies a brief 41-40 lead, the Aztecs would use another push to go ahead 64-55 with just more than three minutes left in the game. Washington would scrap back to within two points with less than a minute to play, but ultimately SDSU was able to knock down the necessary free throws to pull out the victory.
Meanwhile, San Diego State did little to give the Huskies an edge. The Aztecs committed just eight turnovers and, though they lost the rebounding battle, used a stymieing defense to hold UW to 39 percent shooting.
Wilcox led Washington with 17 points, and Williams-Goss added 14 points and five assists.