No. 24 San Diego St. 67, Wyoming 58
No. 24 San Diego State really would have been hurting if not for
two guys coming off ankle injuries.
Jamaal Franklin scored the first five points of overtime and
finished with 12 overall as the Aztecs beat scrappy Wyoming 67-58
on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Franklin returned from a sprained ankle that forced him to sit
out Saturday’s loss at Air Force.
Also coming up big for the Aztecs was Garrett Green, who scored
a game-high 14 points less than a week after spraining an ankle
during the Air Force game.
Although the injuries tested the Aztecs’ depth, they never used
them as excuses.
”I think when you’re 27 games into your season you say, `Tape
it up, gut it up, find a way to win,’ `’ coach Steve Fisher said.
”It doesn’t have to be anything other than the way it was tonight.
I think if you win a game or two, then sometimes you start to have
a little bit better flow to how you play. We have to find a way to
win. We can’t be excuse-makers. We’ve got to make a play. We’ve got
to dig and dig and dig and dig and make a play. That’s what this
team has done. We have fought and fought and fought and not given
up. And I like the way we have fought.”
The Aztecs (21-6, 7-4 Mountain West) trailed by nine points four
times, the latest with 11:10 to play, and avoided what would have
been their first four-game losing streak since February 2005.
Wyoming (18-9, 4-7), lost its fourth straight and for the fifth
time in six games.
Both teams had chances to win in regulation. With the score tied
at 55, San Diego State’s Chase Tapley missed a layup with 3 seconds
left. Wyoming’s Luke Martinez couldn’t hold onto a pass and time
appeared to expire. But the referees put 0.7 seconds back on the
clock and Larry Nance Jr. missed a shot at the buzzer.
Franklin opened overtime by putting back his own missed shot and
converting a three-point play. Tapley had a steal and a layup to
give SDSU a 62-55 lead with 2:08 left in the extra period.
Franklin and Tapley, SDSU’s leading scorers, had only six points
each in regulation. Franklin scored six in the overtime while
Tapley had four. Tapley and Tim Shelton finished with 10
Green made a layup with 1:23 left in regulation for a 53-52
lead, and then added two free throws for a three-point lead with
41.6 seconds to go.
”I’m very, very proud and happy for Garrett,” Fisher said.
”There were whispers, `Well, he’s not tough enough; he can’t deal
with injury and pain; he doesn’t know the difference; he won’t play
with a little injury.’ If you looked at his foot and ankle, you
would say he can’t play. He came out and practiced on Tuesday and
said `I’m sore, but I’m going to try it.’ Obviously he was very,
Green said trainer Tom Abdenour ”knew a lot of tricks to get
back fast and reduce the swelling. I said as long as I could step
on it, I was going to play and that’s exactly what I did.”
Shelton was impressed with Green and Franklin.
”What those two guys are doing really exemplifies how mentally
and physically tough these guys are by playing through ankle
injuries, just being tough and gutting it out,” Shelton said.
Martinez hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 29.2 seconds left in
Wyoming made only 1 of 7 shots in OT.
”We had our chances and we didn’t take advantage,” said
Wyoming’s JayDee Luster, who played high school ball in San Diego.
”They made the plays when it mattered. We didn’t. It was as simple
Arthur Bouedo led Wyoming with 11 points and Adam Waddell had
San Diego State came in having lost at UNLV, at home to New
Mexico and at Air Force, which dropped it 11 spots in The
Associated Press’ Top 25.
The Cowboys made 9 of 22 3-point shots while SDSU made 3 of
Wyoming led 44-35 with 11:10 to play on a long jumper by Bouedo,
the Cowboys’ fourth nine-point lead of the night.
San Diego State went on an 8-0 run to pull to 44-43, on a
baseline shot by Shelton, a slam dunk by Green, a sweet reverse
layup by DeShawn Stephens and a layup by Xavier Thames. The Aztecs
finally tied it on a layup by Green on a feed by Shelton with 4:36
left. The Cowboys’ only point during that stretch came when Leonard
Washington made one of two free throws.
Washington and Franklin traded 3s. Tapley a huge 3 with 2:17
left after the Aztecs fell behind by four.
Wyoming led by nine points three times in the first half, the
last at 21-12 with 8:22 left on a 3-ponter by Luster. San Diego
State tied it at 24 on a 3-pointer by Tapley, his first points of
the game. SDSU’s first lead, 26-24, came on two free throws by
Wyoming scored the final six points of the half to take a 30-26
lead. Waddell hit a jumper, Nance had two free throws and Francisco
Cruz made a layup at the buzzer.