San Diego State continues its assault on California-based teams, as the 19th-ranked Aztecs tangle with the Roadrunners of Cal State Bakersfield in non-conference action at Viejas Arena on Wednesday night.
Representing the Mountain West Conference, the Aztecs own the longest active win streak among Division I school versus opponents from the Golden State, having rattled off 30 straight wins as they enter the new calendar year. San Diego State has also won eight in a row at home and 12 consecutive decisions in its own building versus non-conference contenders.
After opening the 2012-13 campaign with a loss to ninth-ranked Syracuse on the deck of the U.S.S. Midway, SDSU reeled off 11 straight wins before clashing with third-ranked Arizona in the title game of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii on Christmas. While the Aztecs fought hard against one of the last undefeated programs in the country, they still suffered the 68-67 setback.
As for the Roadrunners, a team which is facing SDSU for the first time ever, they began the season with four straight setbacks but have since played .500 basketball over the course of 12 outings. The most recent contest for CSUB took place on Sunday with the group posting a 60-52 win over North Carolina A&T at home.
Down by seven points at the break against North Carolina A&T the last time out, after shooting an awful 24.0 percent from the field, the Roadrunners dialed up their own defense in the second half and held the visitors to just seven field goals, although it also helped that the Aggies made a mere 7-of-21 at the free-throw line in the period as well. Javante Maynor was the lone double-digit scorer for the hosts with a game-high 19 points, coming mostly from his 5-of-10 shooting beyond the arc. Corey Hall checked in with a game- high 13 rebounds as the team delivered a 42-31 rebounding edge overall. Maynor, who shoots almost exclusively from 3-point range for CSUB, is third on the team in scoring with 11.3 ppg as he makes good on 43.8 percent of his long-distance tries. Not nearly as accurate from the outside is Stephon Carter (1-of-13), but still he paces the team overall in scoring through 16 games with 15.4 ppg.
Jamaal Franklin saw his streak of 32 straight games with double-digit scoring come to an end last week, but that was of little consequence as the Aztecs suffered the agonizing, one-point loss to Arizona in Honolulu. Franklin finished with nine points, eight rebounds and six assists as he and the rest of the Aztecs followed the lead set by Chase Tapley who delivered 19 points, while Xavier Thames and JJ O'Brien contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively. Even though he struggled against the Wildcats, Franklin remains the top scorer for the program with his 17.2 ppg, although his 24.0 percent shooting behind the 3-point line makes you wonder why he doesn't abandon that approach and instead remain in the paint so he can build upon his rebounding prowess which currently stands at 9.8 rpg. Tapley (15.8 ppg) is more than capable of handling the perimeter shooting where he is 46.5 percent accurate, as is Thames (10.5 ppg) who has knocked down 40 percent of his attempts on the outside.