SAN DIEGO -- Playing against outmanned Division III Redlands, any of the San Diego State Aztecs could have gotten the hot hand.
Guard Jamaal Franklin did, and he responded with 26 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double to lead the No. 25 Aztecs to a 94-43 rout of the Bulldogs on Friday night.
"I had a good night," Franklin said. "Chase [Tapley] was feeding me the ball, James [Rahon] was looking for me and they saw that I had the hot hand and we always go to the hot hand. I was hot for a little bit so I'm excited to have a good game."
Franklin also had five assists, six steals and three blocked shots -- in only 28 minutes.
Franklin feigned disappointment when he was taken out during a mass substitution with 12 minutes left. He came back in with about 4 minutes to go because Alec Williams had a sore knee.
"I was excited when I got back in," Franklin said.
The Aztecs (12-2) won their fifth straight game and matched the 1984-85 team for the second-best start in school history. They made their season debut in the AP Top 25 on Monday. SDSU was ranked all of last season, when it went 34-3 and reached the NCAA regional semifinals before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut.
Franklin said it wasn't as easy as it looked.
"We both just played hard. They're a good team," he said. "We're probably a little more athletic, a little better, but that's expected for D-I. But Redlands is a good team and I expect them to do a lot of winning in their division."
It was the kind of game where even the guys who rarely play got in and scored. Jeremy Castleberry hit a 3-pointer and Narbeh Ebrahimian made a layup.
"It's a god game to have fun with," Tapley said.
Brian Kuklok, who's from suburban Poway, had 11 points to lead Redlands (4-6).
Kuklok said coach Jim Ducey kept encouraging the Bulldogs despite the tough odds they faced.
"Coach kept on telling us at every timeout, every huddle, `We're not worried about the score, we're just going to play our hardest and work on the stuff that's going to make us better,"' Kuklok said. "When we get into league play we know we played 20 good minutes against a Division I team that got us better for when we play our Division III competition and try to win another league title."
SDSU leads 25-13 in a series that dates to 1925, although this was the first meeting between the schools since 1968.
"I thought we played pretty doggone good at the beginning," Ducey said. "And we went 1 for 8. That doesn't help you."
Franklin put on a show in the first half with 20 points, including making 4 of 6 3-point shots, and added five rebounds and five steals. He had a steal and a tomahawk dunk, and then made a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to give the Aztecs a 24-11 lead. The Aztecs extended the run to 16-0 before Kuklok interrupted it with a jumper.
"He plays hard," coach Steve Fisher said. "When you play as hard as he does, you're going to be in the mix in a lot of things, from rebounds to shots to points to turnovers to diving over the table to all kinds of stuff. He's a fun guy to watch and I'm glad we've got him on our team."
SDSU led 58-24 at halftime.
Tapley had 16 points for the Aztecs, LaBradford Franklin 11, and Rahon, Williams and Garrett Green had 10 apiece.
The Aztecs are currently playing the easiest portion of their schedule. They beat Elon 81-55 last week and have home games in the next two weeks against San Diego Christian and Chicago State.
San Diego State then opens Mountain West Conference play at home on Jan. 14 against preseason favorite UNLV, which currently is ranked No. 19. SDSU and BYU shared the regular-season conference title last year before the Aztecs beat the Cougars in the conference tournament title game.
|Aztec guard Jamaal Franklin soars for a dunk and finishes the night with 26 points, six steals and 10 rebounds. (AP)|
|San Diego State #25 (12-2) «||58||36||94|