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February 23, 2013
SDSU takes down Nevada, earns 20th win
Steve Fisher and the San Diego State Aztecs are used to reaching 20 wins.SAN DIEGO-
Naturally, they want more.
Jamaal Franklin had 23 points and 11 rebounds for San Diego State, which beat Nevada 88-75 Saturday to extend its school-record streak of 20-win seasons to eight.
Chase Tapley had 17 points, J.J. O'Brien and Winston Shepard scored 14 apiece and DeShawn Stephens and Xavier Thames finished with 10 points each for SDSU. The Aztecs (20-7, 8-5 Mountain West) remained tied for third in the conference with UNLV, which beat Wyoming on Saturday.
Overall, it's the ninth time the Aztecs have won 20 games in Fisher's 14 seasons as coach.
"Every win feels good. I know we've won 25 or more for four straight years so we'd like to do that again," Fisher said. "What 20 does is it says you're probably a pretty good team with a chance to make the NCAA tournament. Now, given the fact that New Mexico is sitting (2 1/2) games ahead of us and two games ahead of Colorado State, we want to win the next game. We want to win every game we play. Every one of these wins is a resume builder for postseason play, too."
SDSU plays Wednesday night at No. 16 New Mexico, the MWC leader at 10-2 which beat Colorado State 91-82 Saturday. SDSU is one-half game behind the Rams.
The previous four seasons, SDSU won 26, 25, 34 and 26 games. The 34 wins in 2010-11 were a school record and the Aztecs reached the NCAA regional semifinals before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut.
The Aztecs are trying for their fourth straight NCAA tournament berth.
"It's a testament of what coach Fisher has meant to this program, what he's done with his coaching staff and the players he's brought in," Tapley said. "We're always going to keep building on what we've been doing. Twenty wins in the last eight seasons, let's finish this one off and hopefully we'll get another 20 wins next season and keep this tradition going."
Malik Story made 7 of 13 3-pointers in scoring a game-high 33 points for Nevada, two shy of his season and career highs. Jerry Evans Jr. had 16 points and Deonte Burton scored 12 for Nevada (12-14, 3-9).
"I thought for the most part we guarded pretty well," Fisher said. "We couldn't stop Story from getting his shot, and when he got it, he made it. He was sensational for them today. He looked as if he were Kobe Bryant the way he was shooting the ball."
Skylar Spencer had four blocked shots to set the SDSU and Mountain West freshman single-season record with 47.
"Skylar can block shots," Fisher said. "That is right now what he's known for. I didn't realize he had as many as he did until people started talking about it. He has a knack. Some of it is the long arm and the 6-9. But he's got a feel for where to be, he's got great timing and I think being left-handed gives him an advantage as a shot blocker. We need to keep him going."
The Aztecs swept the season series, having beaten the Wolf Pack 78-57 at Reno on Jan. 23.
"Once they got comfortable, we couldn't stop it," Story said. "That's what happens when you play a team as talented as San Diego State."
San Diego State shot 58.2 percent.
"I just think we didn't play together as a team," Story said. "We're just not playing with the same effort as we did last year. We're not pressuring in the back court and we're not contesting jumpers. That starts with me."
SDSU led 46-32 at halftime and soon pushed the lead to 55-35 on Tapley's 3-pointer 3 minutes into the second half. After Story responded with a 3-pointer, Franklin made another shot from behind the arc for the Aztecs.
SDSU's biggest lead was 70-48 after Stephens' slam dunk off a pass from Franklin with 10:28 left.
Nevada responded by scoring the next eight points. Evans made consecutive 3-pointers and Burton hit a runner in the lane to trim SDSU's lead to 70-56.
Franklin responded by making a jumper for the Aztecs.
San Diego State made seven 3-pointers to lead by 14 at halftime. Franklin, Tapley and Shepard each made two shots from behind the arc, and Tapley made a layup, was fouled and converted the three-point play with five-tenths of a second left in the half.
Story made three 3-pointers while scoring 15 points in the first half for the Wolf Pack.
San Diego State NEWS