SEATTLE — Trailing by 14 points at halftime, the Washington Huskies made one adjustment in the second half, and it made all the difference in their 74-72 comeback victory over Cal-State Fullerton on Sunday night.
Desmond Simmons was inserted into the starting lineup, and he brought the energy and also brought the ball down from the boards. He finished with a career-high 18 rebounds — three off the school record — as the Huskies (4-3) chased down and passed the Titans (3-4) in the second half.
“It wasn’t a miracle or just by chance to happen to get back in this game, we fought back," said Simmons, who also had 14 points. “We were more physical on defense. We rebounded. We eliminated some of their second-chance points. We pretty much geared down and ground it out."
The Huskies didn’t take a lead until under three minutes and won the game with 3.6 seconds left on a pair a free throws by C.J. Wilcox.
Wilcox, who had a team-high 21 points, was fouled by D. J. Seeley with 3.6 seconds remaining. It came just after Alex Harris made a 3-pointer from the right baseline with seven seconds left to tie the game at 72.
“We talked about playing smart in the locker room. We had two mental errors there and they ended up costing us," said Fullerton coach Andy Newman on his team’s fouls in the final seconds. “That’s a really good Washington team. They’re going to be really good in the Pac-12, and I’m really proud of how our guys played."
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said the team was lethargic in the first half and “everyone was looking around for someone to step up. He (Simmons) was the one who stepped up, in terms of aggressiveness. All of a sudden when you’re playing harder, the ball goes in the basket more often."
Also on Sunday:
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin used first-half runs of 14-0 and 12-0 to take control and put together an 11-0 run early in the second half as it cruised past previously unbeaten California.
STANFORD, Calif. — Dwight Powell scored a career-high 29 points in helping Stanford beat Denver. Powell helped the Cardinal (6-3) dominate in the paint, where Stanford outscored the Pioneers 34-14.