SAN DIEGO – The San Diego State Aztecs had some fun late in an exhibition game against Division II UC San Diego, leaping and bumping hips after consecutive dunks by Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley gave them a 30-point lead.
Tapley scored 15 points, Franklin had 13 and transfer JJ O'Brien added 10 as the Aztecs beat the Tritons 80-56 on Monday night.
It won't be anywhere as easy on Friday night, when the 20th-ranked Aztecs open the season against No. 9 Syracuse in the Battle on the Midway on San Diego Bay.
Now comes a game on the flight deck of a decommissioned aircraft carrier, against a tough opponent and whatever Mother Nature throws at the teams.
"Syracuse is obviously a formidable challenge," SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. "We talked about their length and size and their 2-3 defense that makes it hard to get inside. We'll have our hands full from that standpoint but we're going to come out and play very, very hard. We have a good team."
The Aztecs outrebounded the Tritons only 35-33.
"The thing we must get better on is defensive rebounding," Fisher said. "We have to rebound the ball. If we don't do that on Friday, we're in big trouble."
The Aztecs got some looks against the 2-3 zone
"Again, it's a whole different animal when they're 6 inches taller," Fisher said. "We've got a handful of set plays, quick-hitting set plays against the zone. ... I know they'll create some opportunities for us and then we'll have to make some shots."
After reaching the NCAA tournament for the third straight season, the Aztecs return four starters and welcome a highly touted recruiting class that includes three Division I transfers and three freshmen.
Drew Dyer led UCSD with 13 points.