Franklin guides San Diego State to MWC finalMar 10, 2012 - 7:32 AM Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Jamaal Franklin scored 19 points and pulled down six rebounds as No. 18 San Diego State rolled past Colorado State, 79-69, in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Chase Tapley added 17 points and six assists, while James Rahon finished with 15 points for the Aztecs (26-6), who will head to the MWC Tournament finals for the fourth straight year.
"This was a really good, well played, hard fought college basketball game," San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said. "We're proud to represent our university, city and conference in the championship game tomorrow."
San Diego State will face off against New Mexico in the finals on Saturday.
Dorian Green netted a game-high 20 points and Jesse Carr finished with 17 and five rebounds in defeat for Colorado State (20-11).
Colorado State held a 39-38 lead at the break, but Rahon opened the second half with a three-pointer and the Aztecs never trailed again.
The Rams stayed within striking distance over the first four minutes of the second half until an 11-2 run, which included back-to-back treys by Tapley and Franklin, stretched the lead to double digits, 61-50.
Consecutive layups by Pierce Hornung and Carr closed the gap to seven, but LaBradford Franklin's shot from beyond the arc re-established the Aztecs' double-digit advantage near the midpoint of the half and the game was never in doubt from there.
Colorado State managed to close its deficit to single digits one more time when a brief 5-0 spurt brought the Rams within 70-63 with a little over three minutes to play.
However, San Diego State recorded the game's next five points and made enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
"We looked just a little step slow tonight to me. You can't be a step slow against San Diego State," Colorado State head coach Tim Miles said. "It's always difficult to end your journey short of your destination, but we'll live to see another day, I hope."
It was a one-possession game over the opening five minutes until Rahon's jumper sparked a 7-0 run by San Diego State to jump out to a 16-11 advantage.
A Carr field goal followed by Green's three-pointer knotted the game at 16 before back-to-back treys by Garrett Green and Franklin kicked off a 10-5 spurt by the Aztecs to take a 26-21 lead with a little over six minutes left in the first half.
Colorado State, though, outscored San Diego State by a mark of 18-12 for the remainder of the half en route to a slim 39-38 advantage at the break.
San Diego State took the season series, 2-1...Colorado State holds the lead in the all-time series, 36-33...The Aztecs improved to 3-1 against the Rams in the MWC Tournament...Both teams scored 30 points in the paint, but San Diego State held a 13-8 advantage in second-chance points...Dwight Smith scored 12 points for Colorado State, while Garrett Green had 10 for the Aztecs.
- COLORADO STATE: 69
SAN DIEGO STATE: 79
Mar 9 10:55 PM
- COLORADO STATE: 39
SAN DIEGO STATE: 38
Mar 9 9:46 PM
- COLORADO STATE: 0
SAN DIEGO STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 9 9:07 PM
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