The Washington Huskies sliced an 18-point, second-half deficit to five, but could not contain taller, older, home-standing San Diego State in a second-round in NIT game Monday, losing 93-78 (box) to end their year at 19-15.
A season that began with a surprising win in Shanghai over a Texas team that was a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, ended with a desultory loss that did not come in the Big Dance, which the Huskies have missed five consecutive years.
The Aztecs, three-time defending Mountain West Conference regular-season champions, average only 68 points a game. But against a kitten-soft defense minus Noah Dickerson, not on the trip after being suspended for the game for a violation of team rules, the Aztecs raced to a season high in points — a stark contrast to the teams’ last meeting 15 months ago at Hed Ed, when the Huskies won 49-36.
Senior Andrew Andrews passed Jon Brockman to become the third-leading scorer in UW history, finishing with 17 points while missing 9 of 13 shots in his final Huskies game. Dejounte Murray led Washington with 20 after missing his first seven shots. Fellow frosh Marquese Chriss had 19 before fouling out. Both are NBA prospects who may have played their last for Washington as well.
The Huskies were at their athletic best during a 13-0 run that cut the gap to 69-64 inside eight minutes. But the Aztecs, who extended their home record to to 119-12 over the past seven years at Viejas Arena, quickly forced several UW turnovers to blunt momentum.
San Diego State (27-9) led the nation in field goal defense (36.9 percent), and the Huskies saw why, shooting 38.2 percent and missing 11 of 15 threes.
Winston Shepard led the Aztecs, who were in the NCAA field the past six years in a row, with 20 points and 10 rebounds.