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SDSU beats TCU, claims share of MWC regular-season title

Sat 3rd, March 2012

Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Jamaal Franklin scored a career-high 35 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, as the 21st-ranked San Diego State Aztecs claimed a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title with a 98-92 overtime victory over the TCU Horned Frogs.

San Diego State and New Mexico entered Saturday's action tied atop the conference standings. With the Lobos beating Boise State earlier in the day, the Aztecs needed a win to share the MWC regular-season title with New Mexico.

The Aztecs will be the No. 1 seed in next week's Mountain West Conference Tournament because they own the tiebreaker over New Mexico.

Chase Tapley added 18 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Aztecs (24-6, 10-4 MWC), who ended the regular season with four straight wins. Xavier Thames and James Rahon had 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Hank Thorns made five three-pointers en route to 25 points for the Horned Frogs (17-13, 7-7), who were trying for three wins over ranked teams in a single season for the first time in school history.

J.R. Cadot donated 24 points and eight boards for TCU, which finished the regular season with two straight defeats.

"This definitely shows us that we can beat anybody in the league," TCU forward Craig Williams said. "We beat everybody except San Diego State, and that game came down to the wire. I definitely look forward to going into conference tournament play and trying to make some noise."

With the score tied at 85 early in overtime, Franklin recorded a three-point play to put San Diego State in front. After Garlon Green missed a three, Thames made a layup to give the Aztecs a five-point margin with three minutes to go.

Thorns made 1-of-2 from the foul line to made it a 92-88 game with 1:40 remaining. But San Diego State went 6-of-10 from the foul line down the stretch to claim its eighth straight victory over TCU.

TCU put up a good fight for a majority of the first half, and was within four, 36-32, on Amric Fields' jumper with two minutes to go.

But San Diego State ended the period on a 10-2 run to create some distance. Deshawn Stephens bookended the spurt with a layup and jumper to make it a 46-34 game at the break.

Ahead by 10, 52-42, early in the second half, the Aztecs put together an 11-3 spurt to build a comfortable lead. Franklin made a layup and seven free throws during the run, which Tapley capped with a layup for a 63-45 margin with 15:21 to play.

The Horned Frogs made a big comeback instead of rolling over. Down 66-48, the home team put together a 29-11 run to tie the game. Cadot tallied 14 points during the burst, which Connell Crossland capped with two free throws to make it 77-77 with 5:40 to go.

"Our team and our coaches have eye-witnessed everything that has happened this year and it had end the way it did," San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said. "I knew when we got up by 18 points that it was far from over. They did what they've done to UNLV and New Mexico. They played like warriors themselves and came back and made some incredibly hard 3's to get themselves back in the game."

Franklin put the Aztecs back in front with a free throw and layup. But Cadot's three-point play and Thorns' three-pointer around a Franklin missed jumper put TCU ahead by three, 83-80.

Stephens was fouled at the other end after grabbing a big offensive rebound, but he missed both foul shots. Williams missed a three-pointer for TCU.

Franklin airballed a shot from beyond the arc, but Tim Shelton came down with the offensive board. He was fouled on a layup and made the free throw to make it an 83-83 game with 21.6 seconds left in regulation.

Thorns missed a jumper to send the game into overtime.

Game Notes

San Diego State owns a 13-4 advantage in the all-time series with TCU...The Horned Frogs had an eight-game home winning streak snapped...TCU went 10-of-26 from three-point range...The Aztecs outrebounded the Horned Frogs by a 50-37 margin...San Diego State claimed its second consecutive Mountain West regular- season title, the third of the MW era (2005-06, 2010-11 and 2011-12, all under Fisher, the fifth of the Division I era (also 1976-77 and 1977-78) and the 18th in the programs' 91 seasons.

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