The 17th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs try to continue their dominance over other programs from the Golden State as they entertain the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Viejas Arena on Thursday.
Not only have the Aztecs won six straight games overall since dropping the season opener to ninth-ranked Syracuse aboard the U.S.S. Midway back on Nov. 11, the team has also logged 26 consecutive victories over teams from the state of California, by far the longest active run in the nation.
On Monday the Aztecs struggled a bit with Texas Southern at home, but eventually captured a 74-62 win which means SDSU has now claimed victory in 19 straight games played during the month of December, the third-longest streak in the country.
As for the Gauchos, they too won their first game of this month last Saturday with an 83-80 overtime decision against Santa Clara on the road. The win snapped a brief two-game slide by the program, which will battle San Diego Christian next week.
In terms of the all-time series, SDSU owns a 46-36 advantage over the Gauchos stretching back to 1937 when the teams first met. The Aztecs have taken six in a row, but last year's victory was one of the toughest as the squad had to go to overtime to capture the 76-75 win in the Thunderdome.
Alan Williams registered a huge double-double with 29 points and 17 rebounds as UC Santa Barbara slipped by Santa Clara in overtime during a non-conference contest at the Leavey Center over the weekend. Also scoring in double figures for the Gauchos were Kyle Boswell and Taran Brown with 15 and 11 points, respectively, the latter adding nine rebounds in an effort to offset his six turnovers. Boswell was the one who hit a late shot in regulation in order to force overtime, where UCSB made good on 8-of-14 shots at the free-throw line. Because of his effort over the weekend, Williams is close to averaging a double-double now with his 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, both of which are pacing the program, as are his 18 blocked shots. Brown, just a 39.5 percent shooter from the floor, is responsible for 13.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg, but between he and Williams there are 43 of the team's 116 turnovers through seven games.
It wasn't pretty by any means, but the Aztecs managed to work their way into the win column yet again thanks to the efforts of Jamaal Franklin, who tallied a game-high 18 points and a season-best 15 rebounds. Back in the lineup since suffering a knee injury, Chase Tapley responded with 16 points and five assists, while DeShawn Stephens and Dwayne Polee II chipped in with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Franklin, who has at least shared the scoring lead in every game this season for San Diego State and has also done so in the rebounding department in all but one outing, is currently averaging a double- double with 19.9 ppg and 10.7 rpg. Franklin is also tied with Xavier Thames (9.7 ppg) for the lead in assists with 21 and is tops with both 11 blocked shots and 13 steals, which demonstrates just how well-rounded he has been for the Aztecs.