San Diego, CA – Cross-town rivals meet on Saturday night, as the 18th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs entertain the San Diego Toreros in non- conference action.
Since dropping the season-opener to nationally-ranked Syracuse on the deck of the U.S.S. Midway back on Nov. 11, the Aztecs have rattled off seven straight victories, all but two by double figures. The team has been on a lengthy break since last taking the floor on Dec. 6 when it tackled UC Santa Barbara, 84-70, at home. With that victory, the Aztecs have now won 27 straight meetings with teams from the Golden State, the longest run in the nation at the moment and the longest since 1996-97.
As for the Toreros, they are still trying to fight their way back from a stretch where they dropped five of six outings. The team is certainly on the right track with three consecutive victories, with the 88-65 romp over Arizona Christian on Tuesday moving the program one game over .500 at 6-5.
The Aztecs own a 26-17 advantage in the all-time series between the squads, winning six straight meetings and nine of the last 10 overall. Last season, the teams met at Jenny Craig Pavilion where SDSU posted a 74-62 win despite trailing 14-2 to open the contest.
The Toreros had plenty of quality shot opportunities during their meeting with Arizona Christian, which was important since the team suffered 18 turnovers in front of a hometown crowd. San Diego connected on an impressive 60.0 percent from the floor, including 8-of-17 behind the three-point line, as Ken Rancifer tallied a game-high 27 points thanks to his 6-of-8 effort beyond the arc. Mike Davis added 15 points and Johnny Dee another 11 for USD, while Chris Anderson logged six points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals in the decision. The field goal accuracy by the Toreros was their best of the season and marked the sixth time that they've converted at least half of their attempts. Scoring in double figures in all but three games, Dee remains the lone double-digit scorer overall for the group with his 15.0 ppg, while Anderson (9.6 ppg) is one of the top passers in the nation with almost six assists per outing.
Shooting 55.8 percent from the floor, including a sensational 11-of-17 (.647) behind the three-point line, the Aztecs easily put some distance between themselves and UCSB the last time out, en route to the 14-point home win. Chase Tapley accounted for 23 points, leading five in double figures for the hosts, followed by Jamaal Franklin with 14 points and five assists. Fellow starters JJ O'Brien and Xavier Thames chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, followed by James Rahon who came off the bench to offer up 10 points in 19 minutes of action. Considered the top player in the Mountain West Conference this season, Franklin leads the Aztecs in several categories with 19.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 14 steals and 11 blocked shots, demonstrating that there is little he cannot or won't do in order for this group to be successful. Tapley checks in with 13.6 ppg for a team that is limiting the competition to just 58.4 ppg on 37.7 percent shooting from the floor.