Springfield, MO – A pair of teams hoping to make significant noise in their respective conferences this season square off on Saturday afternoon, as the 25th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs come calling on the Bears of Missouri State as part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge.
San Diego State is 1-1 on the young season, having dropped a 62-49 decision to Syracuse last Sunday but then beating up on NAIA foe San Diego Christian two days later, 91-57. The Aztecs have a couple of tough bouts against Golden State rivals USC and UCLA lined up over the next two weeks, as well as a potential matchup with top-ranked Indiana out in Hawaii just prior to Christmas. SDSU kicks off Mountain West Conference action at Fresno State on Jan. 9, 2013.
Missouri State has played only one game thus far, and the team had very little trouble disposing of NAIA foe Philander Smith on Nov. 9, 89-61, and this game represents the second of a season-opening four-game homestand for the Bears. This matchup with San Diego State is going to be tough enough, but bouts with South Carolina, Tulsa and Oklahoma State could provide for more than one pitfall on the way to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play, which for MSU begins at home against Southern Illinois on Dec. 30.
The all-time series between these two teams in tied at 2-2, with the most recent meeting (2007 NIT) going to the Aztecs in a 74-70 final.
Jamaal Franklin has led San Diego State in scoring in each of its first two games, netting 11 points in the loss to Syracuse but then exploding for a massive double-double consisting of 28 points and 12 rebounds in the win over San Diego Christian. Chase Tapley finished with a line of 18 points, six boards and five assists, and the duo combined to shoot 16-of-27 from the floor and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line. The team as a whole knocked down 50.8 percent of its total shots, despite a dismal 4-of-19 showing from three-point range. San Diego Christian hit just 34.4 percent of its field goal attempts, lost the rebounding battle (45-36), and committed an unsightly 24 turnovers. Though its only been two games, SDSU is shooting a meager 38.9 percent from the floor, and has just five three-pointers in 37 opportunities (.135).
Led by a trio of talented freshman, Missouri State won its 10th straight home opener as it beat up on visiting Philander Smith last week. Gavin Thurman (19 points, eight rebounds), Marcus Marshall (16 points, five boards, three assists) and Drew Wilson (12 points, 11 rebounds) led the way for MSU, while also finishing in double digits in the scoring column were Christian Kirk (14 points) and Anthony Downing (12 points). The Bears drained 48.5 percent of their field goal attempts, which included nine three-pointers, and they claimed a 44-29 rebounding advantage as well. At the other end, Philander Smith made good on only 32.7 percent of its total shots, missed 18 of its 23 long-range bombs, and committed 14 turnovers.