SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State coach Steve Fisher thought about giving Winston Shepard a breather just past the midway mark of the second half in a close game against Air Force.
It turns out the last thing the sophomore forward needed was a spot on the bench.
Shepard scored 14 of his 16 points in the final seven minutes, and the No. 5 Aztecs bounced back from their first loss since mid-November to beat Air Force 64-56 on Saturday night.
Shepard started his hot streak by keying a 9-0 run with a three-pointer, a slam dunk following a steal by Xavier Thames (Pleasant Grove High School) and two free throws.
After the Falcons closed to 54-50 with 2:28 to go, Shepard converted a three-point play and hit two more free throws to give San Diego State (22-2, 11-1 Mountain West Conference) breathing room.
“I was having a tough night up to that point,” Shepard said. “Honestly, I have to thank my teammates, X Thames, coach Fish; they stuck with me and had encouraging words for me. I just wanted to go out there and continue to help my team.”
Thames and Dwayne Polee II each scored 13 points for the Aztecs, who had their 20-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night at Wyoming.
Max Yon scored 20 points for Air Force (10-14, 4-9). Tre’ Coggins, the Falcons’ leading scorer, was held to nine points, nearly seven below his average.
Fresno State 75, Colorado State 66 in Fresno – The Bulldogs (13-13, 6-7 Mountain West) went on a 12-0 run to take a 38-25 halftime lead over the Rams (14-12, 5-8). Tyler Johnson scored 18 points and hit back-to-back three-pointers midway through the second half to extend Fresno State’s lead to 63-47.
New Mexico 90, Nevada 72 in Albuquerque, N.M. – Alex Kirk scored 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting, and the Lobos (19-5, 10-2 Mountain West) built a 24-point halftime lead over the Wolf Pack (12-14, 7-6). Cameron Bairstow had 24 points and 11 rebounds for New Mexico.
Cal 72, Washington 59 in Seattle – Mike Montgomery assured there were no magical words that finally awoke the Bears from a 14-minute slumber. There was, however, a stark change among the Bears (17-8, 8-4 Pacific-12 Conference), who went from being passive and reactionary to aggressive and attacking in their win over the Huskies (14-12, 6-7).
“There’s not that much magic going on in these huddles,” the Cal coach said. “They were absolutely killing us on the boards. They were way more physical than we were. … Once we started getting some stops, we started getting out on the break, and once we got on the break, we got some easy shots and then the thing kind of went our way.”
Tyrone Wallace scored 20 points as Cal used a 19-2 run to rally from a 12-point first-half deficit. Richard Solomon scored 18 points and Justin Cobbs had 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Bears swept the season series.
Stanford 69, Washington State 56 in Pullman, Wash. – Anthony Brown scored a career-high 30 points to help the Cardinal (16-8, 7-5 Pac-12) beat the Cougars (9-16, 2-11). Brown scored 11 of Stanford’s first 14 points as the Cardinal took a 16-point lead.
“My first shot was wide open. I hit it. My second shot was wide open. Once you hit two, the basket starts getting real big,” said Brown, who lit up Washington State for 20 points in the first half on 6-of-6 shooting, including 4 for 4 on three-point attempts. “They just kept leaving me open.”
UCLA 80, Utah 66 in Los Angeles – Jordan Adams scored 24 points, and the Bruins (20-5, 9-3 Pac-12) opened the second half with a 14-0 run on the way to a victory over the Utes (17-8, 6-7). Utah is 3-29 on the road since Larry Krystkowiak became coach in the 2011-12 season.
San Diego 70, Pacific 55 in Stockton – Johnny Dee scored 19 points and Christopher Anderson had 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Toreros (14-14, 5-10 West Coast Conference) rolled past the Tigers (14-11, 5-9). Tony Gill (Oakmont) led Pacific with 16 points.
BYU 60, Saint Mary’s 57 in Moraga – The Cougars (18-10, 10-5 WCC) overcame a 14-point deficit in the first half to sweep the season series. Brad Waldow (Ponderosa) led the Gaels (19-8, 9-5) with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Saint Mary’s retired the jersey of all-time leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova before the game.
USF 69, Santa Clara 63
in Santa Clara – Kruize Pinkins scored a season-high 26 points, including a three-point play with 21 seconds left, to help the Dons (16-10, 9-5 WCC) complete a season sweep by holding off the Broncos (11-16, 4-10). Pinkins made a tip-in with 2:30 left to give USF a 64-58 lead, but Santa Clara battled back. Jared Brownridge connected on a jumper and Evan Roquemore hit a free throw with 30 seconds left to cut the Dons’ lead to 64-61. Pinkins responded with a dunk and a free throw to make it a six-point game.