SAN DIEGO — A win against TCU came with a much-needed bonus for the No. 17 San Diego State Aztecs.
Jamaal Franklin had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead San Diego State to an 83-73 win on Saturday night, giving the Aztecs their seventh straight 20-win season.
Additionally, coach Steve Fisher is giving the Aztecs Sunday and Monday off to rest their weary legs. They don't play again until next Saturday at No. 11 UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels lost at Wyoming on Saturday, allowing the Aztecs (20-3, 6-1) to take a one-game lead atop the Mountain West Conference.
"I think it's good for us," Fisher said. "I think we need to take a deep breath. We need to practice, obviously, to prepare, but we need to get our legs back a little bit. With the stretch we had, and what we've been doing, the travel and everything, it affected us physically a little bit. ... It's nice to have a slight lead going into the second lap. We know it will be hard."
After shooting just 31.3 percent from the field in a 17-point loss at Colorado State and a two-point home win against Boise State, the Aztecs made 50.8 percent of their shots. Several nice dunks helped the Aztecs with the better percentage, including one when Franklin came flying in for a rebound and an impressive reverse slam that made it 39-31 in the first half.
"As upset with the victory on Wednesday, I'm proud of the team tonight," Fisher said. "It's nice to win in a fashion, too, where your kids feel good about themselves. The way we won helped us."
James Rahon added 16 points, Chase Tapley 14 and DeShawn Stephens 13 for the Aztecs. SDSU has eight 20-win seasons overall in 13 seasons under Fisher, including last year's school-record 34-3 performance.
Rahon said it was a confidence-booster going into the UNLV game. Plus, he's looking forward to some time off.
"We can't wait for it," Rahon said. "It's the first time we're going to have a couple of days off in a row. We're definitely going to rest our legs. We're definitely feeling the whole first half of this conference season, so we can be rejuvenated for the next half."
Kyan Anderson had 22 points and J.R. Cadot 15 for TCU (13-9, 3-4), which lost its seventh straight to SDSU.
TCU coach Jim Christian wasn't happy with the way the Horned Frogs played.
"We were an undisciplined team," he said. "We played with no discipline on either side of the floor. You can't do that against a good team. That's the bottom line. All the little things you need to do to have a chance to win, we just didn't do it."
SDSU outrebounded TCU 35-21.
San Diego State overcame an early deficit to take a 46-39 halftime lead, and then outscored the Horned Frogs 12-6 to start the second half. Franklin hit a bank shot and Tapley had a layup and two free throws to open the half. Franklin hit a jumper, Tapley had another layup and Garrett Green a reverse slam dunk to push the lead to 58-45 with 16:10 left.
TCU made four 3-pointers in the first 7:15 to take a 23-16 lead.Comment on this story
The Aztecs tightened their defense and went on a 17-4 run to jump ahead 33-27 with 4:46 before halftime. Franklin started the run with a dunk and Rahon added a 3-pointer.
Stephens had three points during the run and had six more the rest of the half, including consecutive baskets for a 37-29 lead.
"It did feel like we were back to normal," Franklin said. "We were actually running the ball and we weren't really relying on set plays. We just ran the ball, everyone contributed and we got open shots."