OXFORD, Ohio -- San Diego State needed the biggest comeback coach in Steve Fisher's 12 seasons at the school to beat Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points and San Diego State (No. 25 AP) overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Wisconsin-Green Bay 79-70 on Saturday in a CBE Classic subregional game. The previous largest deficit for the Aztecs -- down 28-6 -- in a victory was 18 in a 69-65 decision over Monmouth on Nov. 22, 2004.
"At one point, I leaned over to my son, [assistant coach] Mark, and said, 'Do you think we'll score 10 points this half?'" Fisher said. "They were beating us every way, and we helped set the tone by missing every layup and free throw. We were able to come back by making them take harder shots and getting them out of their rhythm offensively."
Leonard also had 10 rebounds for his 20th career double-double, and Chase Tapley added 14 points to help the Aztecs improve to 3-0 for the first time since the 2007-2008 season.
Malcolm Thomas bounced back from a rough start at the free-throw line to finish with 12 points and eight rebounds for San Diego State. The Aztecs shot 29 of 48 (60.4 percent) from the field, but missed all seven 3-point attempts and made just 21 of 36 free throws.
"They're very big, long and athletic," Green Bay coach Brian Wardle said. "They're tough to beat. They're a very good rebounding team."
Perine hit a 3-pointer to give Green Bay a 28-6 lead with 11:15 left in the first half. The Phoenix hit 10 of their first 15 shots, including all four 3-point attempts, while San Diego State missed six of its first eight shots, including all three 3-pointers, and Thomas made just one of his first six free throws.
"We were thinking we have to come back right now," Leonard said. "We had to get some stops defensively. We had to think all defense all the time. Everything was going in for them. We knew we had to contest shots. We didn't come out with any energy. Our mental focus wasn't there. Maybe the flight and the three-hour [time] change got into us."
But Green Bay went 8:04 without a field goal, allowing the Aztecs to creep back into the game. Thomas scored nine points over the rest of half to help San Diego State cut it to 38-33.
The Aztecs opened the second half with a 6-0 run, capped by senior Billy White's dunk off of Tapley's alley-oop pass, to take a 39-38 lead.
After making their first four 3-pointer, the Phoenix made just two of their last 11.