SAN DIEGO — The Division III Redlands Bulldogs hadn't played in front of crowd bigger than 500 until Friday night, when they traveled to face the No. 25 San Diego State Aztecs.
Two of their games just before Christmas attracted just 40 people each.
So imagine what it was like when they played before an announced crowd of 12,414 at Viejas Arena, although it appeared there were about 4,000 empty seats.
The result was what most people thought it would be: Redlands was routed 94-43 and shot just 24.6 percent from the field.
"This is kind of a tough gym to shoot in if you're used to the little, small gyms," coach Jim Ducey said. "And we're going to have some bad shooting nights wherever we play, but it made it a little bit tougher for us because we know how tough they are."
Guard Jamaal Franklin had 26 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double to lead San Diego State.
The Aztecs (12-2) won their fifth straight game and matched the second-best start in school history. They made their season debut in the AP Top 25 on Monday. SDSU was ranked all of last season, when it went 34-3 and reached the NCAA regional semifinals before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut.
Brian Kuklok, who's from suburban Poway, had 11 points to lead Redlands (4-6).
Kuklok said he went to several SDSU games while growing up, "So it was cool to be on the other end of it for the first time.
"It was a great experience for the team to come home and play against a ranked Division I team," he added. "It was unbelievable the amount of people here and the atmosphere. It was awesome to play in and we had a great time."
SDSU leads 25-13 in a series that dates to 1925, although this was the first meeting between the schools since 1968.
"I'm hoping that this will help them," SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. "I'm hoping the experience will be good for them. I know they enjoyed coming to the building with the big crowd. But hopefully, playing in this kind of atmosphere will be something that they can build on as they move through their season, also."
Franklin put on a show in the first half with 20 points, including making 4 of 6 3-point shots, and added five rebounds and five steals. He had a steal and a tomahawk dunk, and then made a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to give the Aztecs a 24-11 lead. The Aztecs extended the run to 16-0 before Kuklok interrupted it with a jumper.
SDSU led 58-24 at halftime.Comment on this story
Chase Tapley had 16 points for the Aztecs, LaBradford Franklin 11, and James Rahon, Alec Williams and Garrett Green had 10 apiece.
The Aztecs are currently playing the easiest portion of their schedule. They beat Elon 81-55 last week and have home games in the next two weeks against San Diego Christian and Chicago State.
San Diego State then opens Mountain West Conference play at home on Jan. 14 against preseason favorite UNLV, which currently is ranked No. 19. SDSU and BYU shared the regular-season conference title last year before the Aztecs beat the Cougars in the conference tournament title game.