San Diego State Wins 9th Straight Game

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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Already the undisputed king of hoops in California, the No. 18 San Diego State Aztecs finished off San Diego County on Tuesday night.

Xavier Thames scored 17 points and Chase Tapley added 15 as No. 18 San Diego State beat Point Loma Nazarene 76-49, the Aztecs' ninth straight victory since losing the season opener to No. 3 Syracuse.

The Aztecs (9-1) did just fine without leading scorer Jamaal Franklin, who sat out with a back injury.

The Aztecs won their 29th straight game against teams from California, a streak that includes victories against UCLA and Southern Cal earlier this season.

They also made it a clean sweep of San Diego-area schools. They've also beaten San Diego, San Diego Christian and, in exhibition games, Cal State San Marcos and UC San Diego.

The Aztecs weren't particularly sharp in the first half, leading only 35-30 at intermission.

SDSU coach Steve Fisher said he told counterpart Bill Carr that he thought the Sea Lions "played terrific basketball in the first half - and probably played better than we did. He said that it's the best they've played all season. I think it was not us being bad but them being good."

San Diego State now heads to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic. Their first game is against San Francisco on Saturday.

The game was considered an exhibition for Point Loma, which is in the process of moving from NAIA to Division II. Taylor Wetherell led the Sea Lions with 10 points.

"I thought we controlled the tempo for a long stretch there," Carr said. "We guarded them OK. They missed some easy ones. That helped us. I thought our guys did a good job of controlling tempo and when they had an open shot, they shot it with confidence. That was something we were struggling with."

Already leading by 15, the Aztecs scored eight points in 1:06 to extend the lead to 69-46 with 4:08 to go. Thames and Tapley had consecutive 3-pointers and Tapley stole the ball and fed James Johnson for a dunk. Johnson, a transfer from Virginia, was making his Aztecs debut.

"That team in the other locker room is really good," Carr said. "You make a mistake and they're on you for a seven-, eight-point run like that. That's hard to play against."

The Aztecs let the Sea Lions hang around for most of the first half.

San Diego State finally got a double-digit lead when Tapley hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to make it 45-33 with 15:51 to play.

San Diego State opened with a 9-0 run, capped by two free throws by Tapley after Point Loma coach Bill Carr was whistled for a technical for complaining about a foul.

That seemed to inspire the Sea Lions, who answered with a 7-0 run, including a layup and 3-pointer by Oivind Lundestad.

Fisher said Franklin couldn't get his back loose before the game, and that the injury might stem from a hamstring injury.

"If we had played a conference game, we probably would have played him but we felt it was in our best interests that he not play."

Fisher also said LaBradford Franklin, no relation to Jamaal Franklin, didn't suit up due to a family issue and will also miss the Hawaii trip.