Aztecs: Coming off a 28-point performance against the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins, junior guard Jamaal Franklin led the No. 17 San Diego State basketball team to a 74-62 win against Texas Southern University Monday night at Viejas Arena. The combination of Franklin and senior guard Chase Tapley is a reason the Aztecs had early success this season. Franklin and Tapley are the top two scorers on the team. Franklin averages 19.9 points per game, while Tapley averages 12.
Gauchos: The two leading backcourt players for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are junior guard Kyle Boswell and freshman guard Michael Bryson. The two are not as formidable as the Aztecs’ Franklin and Tapley, but Boswell scores 9.3 points per game, while Bryson averages 6.5.
Aztecs: The Aztecs have a number of quality forwards such as senior DeShawn Stephens, sophomore J.J. O’Brien and freshman Winston Shepard. The scoring leaders among this group is Stephens, who averages 7.7 points per game, while also averaging 5.7 rebounds per game. O’Brien has played well lately, now averaging 4.7 points per game and Shepard is capable of bring the ball up the court.
Gauchos: The leading scorer for the Gauchos comes out of their backcourt. It is sophomore center Alan Williams, who puts up an average of 16.1 points per game and also plays 26 minutes per game. His matchup against Franklin will be an exciting one.
Aztecs: Playing at home is always an advantage and the Aztecs are close to playing flawless basketball right now. The team improved its free throw shooting and transition offense since its season opener against Syracuse. SDSU’s bench is much stronger than UCSB’s, which is a huge intangible for this Aztecs squad. Franklin is steadily putting himself in the National Player of the Year discussion.
Gauchos: The Gauchos have a premier scorer in Williams, who is very similar to the Franklin. If UCSB can isolate Williams and get him open shots, this game may be closer than people think.
Aztecs: Steve Fisher has his team rolling since the debacle on the U.S.S. Midway against Syracuse. Fisher is establishing a much more open offensive scheme, letting his premier perimeter players shoot the ball more leisurely. An example of this game plan was shown during the UCLA game, when the Aztecs knocked down eight 3-point shots. Fisher looks to have his team on a path to a potential NCAA appearance yet again.
Gauchos: Head coach Bob Williams is the man at the helm for the Gauchos. Williams previously coached at UC Davis, where he won the 1998 NCAA Division II National Championship and was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Coach of the Year. Williams is all-time leader in wins at UCSB.
Aztecs 70, Gauchos 48