San Diego State press conference with head coach Steve Fisher, guard Chase Tapley and forward Jamaal…
San Diego State 91 San Diego Christian 57
Two days after a 13-point loss to No. 8 Syracuse on the flight deck of the USS Midway, the Aztecs unveiled a banner and collected rings for sharing the 2011-12 Mountain West Conference championship with New Mexico.
Then they did what they were supposed to and creamed San Diego Christian, an NAIA school, 91-57.
Jamaal Franklin scored 19 of his 28 points in the first half and had 12 rebounds, and Chase Tapley scored 18 for SDSU (1-1).
''I liked the way we came out and played with high energy and pretty high IQ,'' coach Steve Fisher said. ''We did a good job of sharing the ball and giving it up when a guy was open. When you do that, everything looks good. It was a nice win for us, a win we expected to get. I like not only the win, but the way we got it."
''In the second half, rather than just run up and down and try to outscore them, I thought we continued to guard. I was pleased with the way we played,'' Fisher added.
The game had been scheduled for Sunday night, but was pushed back when SDSU's season-opening game against Syracuse on the USS Midway aircraft carrier was postponed from Friday night to Sunday afternoon because of the threat of rain. Syracuse won 62-49.
The game counted as an exhibition for the Hawks from suburban El Cajon, who got 15 points from Kevin Dawson and 14 from Kwaminique Brandon.
''I've played them three times and they are as athletically gifted and as talented as I've seen in the three years that we've played them,'' said coach Tim Cook, who's played the Aztecs twice with San Diego Christian and once as coach at Cal Baptist. ''They've got all the makeup to make a deep run in the conference and the NCAA tournament. If their outside shot is going, they're going to be really hard to beat. That's really the only thing that is a little inconsistent.''
San Diego State made only four of 19 shots from 3-point range. On Sunday, the Aztecs made only one of 18 3-pointers against Syracuse.
The Aztecs shared the MWC regular-season crown with New Mexico last season before losing to the Lobos in the conference tournament final. They advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third straight year before losing to North Carolina State.
''It's always a great new feeling when you see that banner drop,'' Tapley said. ''Every time you come to Viejas, you look up there and see what year you were a part of and what you helped achieve. Getting our rings, too, was just an unbelievable feeling, a blessed feeling to share with the coaching staff, fans, my family that was here and most importantly, my teammates.''
Earlier Tuesday, SDSU freshman forward Winston Shepard was suspended for three games by the NCAA for violating preferential treatment legislation. SDSU said it has appealed the penalty, but the suspension will be enforced during the process. The school declined to provide specifics, saying only that the player inadvertently violated a rule and that the coaching staff reported it to the compliance staff, which self-reported it to the NCAA.
Fisher said the school knew about the violation since September.
''We've appealed it,'' Fisher said. ''I was appreciative when they said, 'OK, we'll let him play in the boat game, play in the Midway game.' I think sometimes if you take cases independently, you treat the kids more fairly. In this one, when the dust settles, he may or may not have to sit out three games. I'm hopeful that he won't have to.''
Shepard was cited for marijuana possession on campus in late June. A school spokesman said Shepard was disciplined by coach Steve Fisher, which did not involve being suspended from games.
San Diego State took a 4-0 lead in the first 23 seconds. The Aztecs got the tip and Franklin made a layup. J.J. O'Brien stole the ball and fed Tapley for a layup.
Deshawn Stephens scored seven of the Aztecs' next nine points for a 13-8 lead.
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