SEATTLE – C.J. Wilcox scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half, Perris Blackwell scored a season high 20 points, and Washington finally pulled away from Idaho State in the final five minutes for a 85-66 win on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies had dropped three of five, including last Sunday's setback at No. 25 San Diego State. But Washington started its final stretch of games before beginning Pac-12 play with a surprising challenge out of the Bengals from the Big Sky.
Washington (5-4) saw a 13-point lead trimmed to five with 7:04 remaining, but Andrew Andrews and Wilcox combined for nine straight points as the Huskies finally pulled away. Andrews added 17 points for Washington.
Tomas Sanchez and Jeffrey Solarin led the Bengals (3-4) with 14 points each.
Idaho State went quiet from the field in the final 10 minutes. The Bengals scored their final eight points at the free throw line and did not make a field goal the final 9:51.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar will have concerns to address before Tuesday's game at Tulane and ahead of its Dec. 22 showdown at home against Connecticut. The Bengals scored with ease on the interior for the first 30 minutes of the game and then couldn't make a basket most of the final 10 minutes as the Huskies defense tightened.
Idaho State missed its final eight shots after scoring 36 interior points in the first 30 minutes.
Andre Hatchett added 12 points and Chris Hansen had 11 for the Bengals. But Idaho State, a 43.7 percent 3-point shooting team entering the game, hit just 2 of 13 attempts beyond the arc.
Washington pushed its lead to 13 early in the second half but failed to shake the Bengals. Idaho State lingered with the deficit around eight or 10 points and Washington failed to get defensive stops that could have finally given them a comfortable lead. Idaho State got a dunk from Hatchett off an inbound pass, a pair of free throws from Hansen and two free throws from Hatchett, to trim the Huskies lead to 70-64 with 7:59 left.
Hansen split free throws and the lead was down to five, but Andrews' rebound putback pushed the lead to seven and the Bengals committed turnovers on their next two possessions. Wilcox then knocked down just his second shot attempt of the second half — a 15-footer — and the Huskies lead was back to 74-65 with 5 minutes left. Andrews added another jumper to get the lead back into double figures and hit a 3-pointer with 2:50 left for a 79-65 lead.