SAN DIEGO (AP)—So much for this being an upset special.
Behind 28 points by Brandon Roy, fifth-seeded Washington defeated Utah State 75-61 Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Despite being talked up as the team that would knock out a fifth seed, the Aggies failed to join fellow No. 12s Montana and Texas A&M in the second round.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar pretended to wipe sweat off his brow after hearing fifth seeds Nevada and Syracuse had been upset.
“I saw one of those scores,” Roy said, “and I thought, ‘Maybe we won’t be the last team to be jinxed by that.”’
Jamaal Williams added 15 points and Justin Dentmon and Bobby Jones had 11 each for the Huskies, who tied a season-high with 12 3-pointers—nine in the second half.
Roy hit four 3-pointers, had five assists and three steals.
“If you can give Brandon room to maneuver, he’s pretty good,” Romar said. “What Brandon did tonight, he’s been doing all year long. When our team sees him, our attitude is, `There he goes.”’
And so do the Huskies (25-6), who advanced to a second-round game Saturday against No. 4 Illinois in the Washington Regional.
Jaycee Carroll scored 21 points and Nate Harris had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Utah State, which had 22 turnovers—double its usual.
“If you let us run our stuff, we’re usually pretty efficient,” Aggies coach Stew Morrill said. “They kept causing turnovers and making shots.”
The Aggies (23-9) lost in the first round for the 12th time in their last 13 NCAA appearances. Their only win since 1971 was an upset of Ohio State in 2001.
Washington built its largest lead of 16 points midway through the second half after a spurt in which Roy scored seven points and Jones six.
“I had to have confidence in myself to keep taking shots,” Roy said. “We’re a scrappy team and we showed we can hold a lead in the second half.”
The Aggies ran off nine unanswered points capped by Chaz Spicer’s steal and fast-break layin to get to 53-46.
That was as close as Utah State got over the final 7 1/2 minutes, when the Huskies reeled off four 3-pointers, including two by Roy.
“He’s big and he’s strong,” said Carroll, who spent time guarding Roy, the Pac-10 player of the year. “Anytime I kind of got a body on him, he bumped me out of the way and went by. He got to the basket and finished well.”
Both teams shot horrendously to open the game, with each taking nearly five minutes to score their first basket. Utah State missed its first six shots before eaking out a 5-4 lead.
The Huskies finally got it going on a 3-pointer by Dentmon. That keyed a 13-2 run, including six by Williams and four by Roy, that resulted in a 17-7 lead.
The Aggies, whose 14 turnovers led to 17 points by the Huskies, closed to six with a 9-2 spurt before Washington outscored them 10-4 to end the half ahead 29-20.
Utah State guard David Pak had two points and five assists in his final college game.
The 29-year-old starter served eight years in prison for raping a woman at knifepoint as a teenager. After completing his sentence, he played two years at a community college before joining the Aggies for his final two years of eligibility.