Franklin leads San Diego State past Texas Southern
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Jamaal Franklin totaled 18 points, 15 rebounds and four assists, and the No. 17 San Diego State Aztecs fended off the Texas Southern Tigers, 74-62, at Viejas Arena.
"He plays all over the floor," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said of Franklin. "He's always around the ball, pursues the ball. He's a good player."
Chase Tapley scored 16 points and Deshawn Stephens netted 12 of his 13 points in the first half for the Aztecs (6-1), who have not lost since their season- opener against Syracuse.
Omar Strong and Fred Sturdivant led Texas Southern with 15 and 14 points, respectively, but the Tigers (1-7) started slow and never fully recovered in dropping their fifth straight game.
Stephens made more field goals (six) in the first half than the entire Texas Southern roster, which shot a woeful 5-of-27 in the opening 20 minutes. Stephens' bucket less than four minutes in made it 9-0, and it took the Tigers another four minutes to connect from the field for the first time.
By that point, the Aztecs had built a 16-3 lead, and a seven-point run to end the opening half yielded a 34-16 cushion.
Whatever head coach Mike Davis told his team at halftime worked, because the Tigers made four of their first five shots out of the break and pulled within 37-27 on a Sturdivant layup 3 1/2 minutes in.
"I thought the first half was a disaster and I had a lot to do with that because our guys were so uncomfortable with their size and their trapping," Davis said of his team's struggles in the first half. "Our guys played tough, but great players make plays, and that's what (San Diego State) did."
It was an eight-point game before Franklin was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made three from the foul line for a 54-43 lead with 9:30 to go.
The Aztecs led by double digits the rest of the way, thanks in part to Tapley scoring on four of the next five possessions, with his trey pushing the margin to an insurmountable 18 points, 63-45.
San Diego State has won 19 straight games in December ... The Tigers' Raymond Penn, who came in averaging a team-high 14.6 points, shot 3-of-14 from the field for nine points ... The only other meeting between these programs came in 1991, a game also won by the Aztecs ... Texas Southern plays at Houston on Saturday ... San Diego State continues its four-game homestand against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.