SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two days after their first victory over UCLA since 1940, the No. 17 San Diego State Aztecs avoided a major letdown when they faced Texas Southern.
Jamaal Franklin had 18 points and 15 rebounds and Chase Tapley scored 16 points to lead the Aztecs to a 74-62 victory Monday night.
DeShawn Stephens added 13 points and Dwayne Polee had 10 for the Aztecs (6-1), who won their sixth straight game since losing the season opener to Syracuse on the flight deck of the USS Midway. In their previous two games, they beat Southern California 66-60 in Los Angeles and UCLA 78-69 in the John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim, SDSU’s first victory over the Bruins since 1940.
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They were hardly perfect, but it was a victory.
“I was very pleased with the way we began the game,” SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. “There was concern as always when you are coming off a big win and everybody says, `Well, let’s not worry about the next four or five, let’s enjoy the most recent victory.’ But I thought we played hard and smart early.”
It was Franklin’s fourth double-double this season. He made the Aztecs’ final two baskets, including a reverse slam on an alley-oop, both passes from Tapley.
“Jamaal’s the best baseline cutter in the country,” Tapley said. “He knows when his player has his back turned. He raised his hand. I knew he was going to do something freaky and he did.”
Texas Southern (1-7) was coming off an 85-80 double-overtime loss at then-No. 19 Colorado on Wednesday. Omar Strong, who scored a career-high 39 points against Colorado, including nine 3-pointers, had 15 points against the Aztecs. Fred Sturdivant added 14 points.
The Tigers trailed by 18 points at halftime but played closer in the second half.
San Diego State jumped to a 9-0 lead, with Tapley scoring five points. The Aztecs led 16-3 on James Rahon’s 3-pointer before the Tigers made their first field goal of the game, by Aaron Clayborn, nearly 10 minutes in.
San Diego State led 34-16 at halftime. Texas Southern was just 5 for 27 (18.5 percent) from the field in the first half.
“I thought the first half was a disaster,” Tigers coach Mike Davis said. “I think they kind of overwhelmed us in the first half. They are long and athletic. They’ve got guys who can make plays. They made a lot of plays the first half.”
The Tigers have three starters who are either 6-foot or 5-9.
The Tigers went on a 9-0 run early in the second half, with Sturdivant scoring four points, to pull within 36-27.
Raymond Penn made a 3-pointer with 10:30 left to get the Tigers within 49-41. The Aztecs ran it back out to double digits, and went up 60-45 on a layup by Tapley with 7:09 to play.
“I think at times we were good and at times we were bad,” Stephens said. “We made mistakes. At other times we capitalized on the mistakes we made.”