skip to nav skip to content
The 23rd ranked San Diego State Aztecs set a JQH Arena record with 52 rebounds and beat the MSU Bears 60-44 Saturday afternoon in Springfield.
Jamaal Franklin had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Aztecs, while Anthony Downing's 16 points were tops for Missouri State. Keith Pickens had nine points and Dorrian Williams finished with eight.
Both teams had a rather dismal shooting percentage for the game, with Mssouri State finishing 16-57 (28.1%) and San Diego State not faring much better, shooting 19-59 from the field (32.2%). The three point shooting wasn't any better, with the Bears connecting on four of 23 attempts and the Aztecs hitting four of 22.
Of the Aztecs 52 boards, 21 were on the offensive end with 31 defensive rebounds.
MSU played the very physical Aztecs tough, especially in the early going. Downing's layup with 9:23 left in the first half gave the Bears a 14-8 lead before San Diego State went on a 9-0 run to pull ahead 19-16 with 5:12 to play. Williams drained a three pointer to tie the game 19-19 with 4:02 left in the half, but the Aztecs went on a 10-1 run to close out the half, taking a 29-20 advantage into the locker room.
After San Diego State went ahead by ten early in the second half, the Bears narrowed the gap. Downing's three pointer with 11:02 left in regulation made the score 39-33. The senior hit another big shot with 7:20 to play that pulled the home team within four, 41-37.
But the Aztecs had not one, but two answers that thwarted any hopes of a comeback. James Rahon hit a three pointer with 6:38 left in regulation, then Chase Tapley drained another one from long distance with 5:35 on the clock to put San Diego State ahead 47-37 and the Aztecs pulled away from there.
Bears Head Coach Paul Lusk says having Pickens and sophomore Christian Kirk got into foul trouble early, and that hurt. "I thought it really affected us in the first half when Pick and Christian were out for that extended amount of time and we hung in there. But that's our best defensive unit. Those guys have got some experience. And then our lack of experience showed at times. I'm going to keep demanding a lot from those young guys, but it was an eye-opening experience."
But Lusk says his defense held a great basketball team to 60 points. "Especially when they get 21 offensive rebounds, those guys can score the ball. They've got a lot of versatile players. We did enough from a defensive standpoint, we just couldn't keep them off the glass." Lusk says the Bears have to get more physical on the glass, and they'll get there.
Downing says his team played its hearts out, but just came up short. "We knew they were going to come in here and give us a battle. But I felt like our freshmen all battled. If we would have rebounded well, I think it would have been a different outcome than what it was."
Downing and Pickens both limped off the floor in the second half, but told us in the postgame interviews they both had some cramps in their calves and should be fine for Monday.
Pickens says the Bears were expecting this game to be physical. "It was exactly what I expected," Pickens said. "We expected to keep them off the glass better than we did."
The Bears drop to 1-1 with the loss while the Aztecs improve to 2-1.
Missouri State has a busy Thanksgiving week ahead, with four games in the Hoops for Hope Classic. The Bears take on Jacksonville Monday night and Malone Wednesday night at JQH Arena (tipoff is 7:05 for both games), then travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to play South Carolina Saturday night and either SMU or Arkansas-Little Rock Sunday.
|Submit photos to: