Honolulu, HI (Sports Network) - A couple of teams from the Golden State make
their way to Honolulu on Saturday, as the 18th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs
tangle with the San Francisco Dons in the opening round of the 2012 Diamond
Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Since losing to ninth-ranked Syracuse in the season opener, 62-49, the Aztecs
have been unstoppable with nine straight victories. The team was tossed a
softball on the schedule for Tuesday as it hosted Point Loma Nazarene and
delivered a 76-49 victory at Viejas Arena.
Not only did the victory keep SDSU's current seasonal win streak intact, it
was also the 29th straight triumph for the team against another program from
the state of California, by far the longest such run by any school at the
Division I level.
As for the Dons, a squad which has won just once in four games away from home
this season, they've gone from winning five games straight to suffering
through a three-game slide at the moment. Earlier this week, the team hosted
Holy Cross and was defeated by double figures, 73-63, which means USF is now
just one game over .500 on the season.
In terms of the all-time series between these two schools, each has won twice
previously. While the relationship dates back to 1954, the latest encounter
took place two seasons ago when SDSU posted a 62-56 win in the first game of
the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic.
These two teams will be back in action again on Sunday, switching opponents
with Ole Miss and Indiana State, with the matchups hinging on the outcomes on
Even without the services of Mountain West Conference Player of the Year
Jamaal Franklin, who was held out of the contest in order for him to rest an
ailing back, the Aztecs had little trouble dismissing their visitors by 27
points. Instead of relying on Franklin, SDSU instead turned to Xavier Thames
who tallied 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, followed by Chase
Tapley with 15 points as he connected on 3-of-5 shots behind the 3-point line.
San Diego State ended up shooting a solid 54.9 percent from the floor while
also forcing PLNU into 17 turnovers. Expected to be back in action for this
tournament, Franklin leads the team in both scoring and rebounding with
averages of 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest, although he would
probably benefit from staying in the paint at the offensive end of the floor
instead of drifting out to the perimeter where he has made just 26.8 percent
of his shot attempts. Defensively, the group has held the competition to 37.7
percent from the floor and watched them make a mere 57.7 percent at the
San Francisco couldn't find the basket from nearly anywhere on the floor
against the Crusaders earlier this week, the hosts hitting on just 37.7
percent from the field, 5-of-20 beyond the arc and a disappointing 12-of-23
(.522) at the charity stripe. Cole Dickerson did everything he could to keep
the Dons competitive as he registered a huge double-double with 17 points and
a game-high 17 rebounds, but it wasn't nearly enough. Cody Doolin was
responsible for 18 points and five assists, followed by De'End Parker with 10
points, but the latter made only 4-of-12 shots from the floor. After a run of
four games in which the Dons shot at least 50 percent from the floor, the team
has had three consecutive outings in which they've now failed to reach 43
percent and the last two contests have dropped below 38 percent accuracy.
Still, USF is hitting its shots a respectable 44.1 percent of the time, even
as Parker (15.4 ppg), Dickerson (13.6 ppg) and Doolin (11.7 ppg) all fall
below that mark individually.
The Sports Network