Saturday, January 14, 2012
Rapid Reaction: San Diego St. 69, UNLV 67
By Kevin Gemmell
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Some quick thoughts on No. 22 San Diego State's thrilling 69-67 win over No. 12 UNLV at Viejas Arena.
Overview: In the Mountain West opener for both teams, it was the first time that UNLV and San Diego State had met with both teams in the Top 25. Both squads boasted seven-game win streaks coming into the game, but the Aztecs had won five straight over the Rebels. They extended it to six with an up-tempo assault and a defense that limited UNLV to 35 percent shooting.
Star of the game: San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin, while erratic at times, was spectacular at others. He finished with a double-double, 24 points to go with 10 rebounds. Of course, no play was bigger than his layup with less than half a second left to give the Aztecs a 69-67 victory. Teammates James Rahon added 22 points, while UNLV's Anthony Marshall (26 points) was the only Rebel that finished in double figures.
Stat of the game: The final score. Both teams like to play up-tempo, with UNLV averaging 81.3 points per game and San Diego State not far behind at 75.2. But turnovers, inconsistent shooting and tough, physical defense on both sides turned it into a drag-it-out contest. Not to be overlooked: The Rebs finished just 11-of-21 from the free throw line.
What it means: The Aztecs seize control of the conference right out of the gate. Many are predicting these two teams meet again in the Mountain West Conference championship. That would support recent history. The teams have combined to win five of the past six MWC tournament championships. But New Mexico, winner of 13 in a row, will have plenty to say about that.
What’s next: UNLV looks to start a new winning streak Wednesday when it hosts TCU. On the same night, the Aztecs have a little tougher go of it, when they travel to University Arena, aka “The Pit,” to take on surging New Mexico.