San Diego State vs Missouri State

No. 23 Aztecs handle Mo. St.


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Asked what it took to turn the tide, San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin, clenched his left fist and then thumped his chest.

"Heart. We've got a lot of heart. We do what it takes to win," Franklin said Saturday after the No. 23-ranked Aztecs beat Missouri State 60-44 Saturday for a nonconference victory that coach Steve Fisher likened to the tough-as-nails road showdowns in the Mountain West.

Franklin scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half to put No. 23 San Diego State up early, and James Rahon hit a key 3-pointer late.

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"This was the kind of game we thought we were going to have in terms of how hard we would be played. They were physical and knocked us back early on," Fisher said.

Fisher later added, "I thought our half-court defense kept them from getting good, clean looks and allowed us to win the game."

The Aztecs, playing the equivalent of a noon game on the West Coast time, appeared groggy much of the first half and then found themselves engaged in a defensive battle usually seen in the Bears' mid-major Missouri Valley Conference.

The Aztecs led 39-30 midway through the second half before the Bears rallied. Missouri State (1-1) pulled within 41-37 on Anthony Downing's basket with 7:13 left.

But the Aztecs pulled away thanks to 3-pointers on consecutive possessions from Rahon and Chase Tapley.

It was the second consecutive victory for San Diego State since the Aztecs lost the season opener against Syracuse.

Franklin finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds.

Missouri State was led by Downing's 16 points. Keith Pickens, who missed the season opener to rest injured knees, had nine points and six rebounds.

San Diego State's athleticism and length won out over Missouri State, which lacks a true post presence. The Aztecs dominated in rebounds 52-34 and frustrated Missouri State into shooting 28.1 percent (16 of 57) for the game.

The 16-point margin was the most by a visitor in JQH Arena, which opened in November 2008.

"We knew they were going to come in here and give us a battle. I felt like our freshmen, I think they all battled and we played our hearts out. We just came up short," Downing said. "If we would have rebounded, it would have been a different outcome than what it was."

The Aztecs outrebounded the Bears 52-34.

Missouri State is in a rebuilding mode just two years after winning the MVC regular-season title, led by then-conference player of the year Kyle Weems, who graduated last season.

Drew Wilson led Missouri State with nine rebounds, and Dorrian Williams scored eight points for the Bears.

"I thought it really affected us in the first half when Pickens and Christian were out for an indefinite amount of time," Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. "We hung in there. But that's our best defensive unit. And then our lack of experience showed at times."

San Diego State plays host to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday before back-to-back games against Southern Cal and UCLA.

"I told our team, 'This is going to be like a road game in the league, this is going to be a Mountain West Conference road game, and you know what those are like,"' Fisher said. "And it was."

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San Diego State's Deshawn Stephens, left, and James Rahon box out Missouri State's Gavin Thurman. (AP)
San Diego State's Deshawn Stephens, left, and James Rahon box out Missouri State's Gavin Thurman. (AP)
San Diego State #25 (2-1) «293160
Missouri State (1-1)202444
SDGST:J. Franklin 22 Pts
SDGST:J. Franklin 12 Reb
SDGST:X. Thames 5 Ast
MOST:A. Downing 16 Pts
MOST:D. Wilson 9 Reb
MOST:M. Marshall 3 Ast

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San Diego StateMissouri State
Jamaal Franklin
Anthony Downing
San Diego State Aztecs
X. Thames, G363-125-535211
J. Franklin, G356-149-11122322
C. Tapley, G312-91-22016
J. O'Brien, F303-70-28006
D. Stephens, F181-40-05042
J. Rahon, G263-72-240210
D. Polee II, F171-51-24133
S. Spencer, F70-10-25000
L. Franklin, GDid Not Play
J. Castleberry, GDid Not Play
A. Douglas, GDid Not Play
N. Ebrahimian, GDid Not Play
R. Staten, GDid Not Play
W. Shepard, FDid Not Play
M. Shrigley, FDid Not Play
Totals 19-5918-264381560
Missouri State Bears
A. Downing, G385-145-630116
K. Pickens, G-F284-110-06149
D. Williams, G283-60-02228
D. Wilson, F262-30-49144
C. Kirk, F121-52-22144
M. Marshall, G230-61-23311
N. Scheer, G-F211-60-04042
G. Thurman, F160-40-22020
B. Marshall, C50-20-01010
T. Aromona, G10-00-00000
M. Simpson, F10-00-00020
R. Carmichael, G10-00-00000
J. Gulley, G-FDid Not Play
Totals 16-578-163282544
Mountain West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
San Diego St0-05-1170
Boise St.0-04-1133
Air Force0-03-1287
Fresno St.0-03-2122
Colorado St.0-03-3248
Utah St.0-03-3192
New Mexico0-02-3307
San Jose St.0-02-3295

Missouri Valley
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Missouri St.0-05-2138
N. Iowa0-05-2103
So. Illinois0-02-1169
Illinois St.0-03-2113
Indiana St.0-02-3158
Other games
OHST 69 Final
RI 58
BYU 68 Final
ND 78
SAM 54 Final
JXST 58 Final