Men’s Basketball Notebook: Loss to Cougars ignites team; Franklin soars

by Edward Lewis

It was all smiles for sophomore shooting guard Chase Tapley (22) and the rest of the San Diego State men’s basketball team, which beat Wyoming by 39 points, Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor
It was all smiles for sophomore shooting guard Chase Tapley (22) and the rest of the San Diego State men’s basketball team, which beat Wyoming by 39 points, Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

After losing its first game of the season last Wednesday to BYU, San Diego State men’s basketball head coach Steve Fisher said he was a “little bit concerned” with how his SDSU squad would respond against Wyoming on Saturday night.

The Aztecs not only responded well, they played perhaps their most complete game of the season. Take a look at some of the news and notes from Saturday’s 39-point victory.

BYU still motivating SDSU

The first question posed to the Aztecs in the postgame press conference wasn’t about sophomore guard Chase Tapley’s career-high 24 points or SDSU’s 21st victory of the season — it was about BYU. And SDSU’s response was that even when BYU is playing a game in

New Mexico, the Cougars are still on the Aztecs’ minds.

“Losing (to BYU) — that definitely put us on edge,” senior guard D.J. Gay said. “Also with BYU losing (earlier Saturday to New Mexico), that just let us know that we had to come out from the start and jump on Wyoming. We wanted to come out with high energy and that’s what we did.”

“Everybody knew that we had another chance to still win conference outright (with BYU losing),” senior center Brian Carlwell added. “I remember looking at D.J. and saying, ‘No more losses.’ We’ve got a new focus again, so it’s good.”
With BYU falling to New Mexico, SDSU is tied atop the Mountain West Conference standings with the Cougars. The rematch will take place at Viejas Arena on Feb. 26.

High-flying Franklin

The game was all but finished with about four minutes left to play in the second half, and the fans knew it. So they headed for the exits early. But about a minute after most of the fans had headed toward the parking lot, freshman guard Jamaal Franklin almost rewarded the rest of the SDSU faithful with one of the most spectacular dunks they’d ever see.

Wyoming guard Joe Hudson missed a 3-pointer, Carlwell grabbed the rebound and passed the ball to a wide-open Franklin on a breakaway. Franklin, the best dunker on the team, put the ball through his legs in the air and almost threw it down with authority. But instead the ball clanked off the rim, yet everybody in the crowd remained impressed.

“We see that a lot,” Carlwell said. “He does that in practice. I was kind of upset that he missed it, because he never really misses that. We see that at least two times a week.”
Franklin played 15 minutes and scored four points, including his first career 3-pointer.

Upset Saturday

Originally, it looked as if SDSU’s loss to BYU would send the squad tumbling out of the Top 10. But on Saturday, four Top 10 teams were upset (No. 5 Connecticut, No. 7 Villanova, No. 9 BYU and No. 10 Syracuse) and 11 Top 25 teams fell.
The new polls will be announced today.

Short Shots

The 96 points scored were a season high for SDSU … The 39-point victory was the Aztecs’ largest margin of victory ever in an MWC game … The Aztecs’ 17 3-pointers were a school record … SDSU extended its home winning streak to 15 dating back to last season … The Aztecs’ 21 victories are the second most in the nation behind No. 1 Ohio State’s 22.