San Diego-San Diego St. Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- Although it's dominated the series lately, San Diego State isn't looking past crosstown rival San Diego.
The 18th-ranked Aztecs have a clear memory of their lackluster start to last season's matchup and will try for a better performance Saturday night against the visiting Toreros.
San Diego State (7-1) has won six in a row in the series and may be poised to extend that streak after an 84-70 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 6.
The Aztecs had their best shooting effort in two seasons at 55.8 percent and made 11 of 17 attempts from 3-point range in their seventh consecutive victory. Chase Tapley hit six of those 3s en route to a season-high 23 points.
Tapley also scored 23 in a 74-62 win at San Diego on Dec. 7, 2011, but he and his teammates needed to rally from a 14-2 deficit.
"Every game means something because every game somebody could beat you," Aztecs guard Jamaal Franklin said. "If you're not bringing it, you could lose."
San Diego State has brought it to opponents lately by knocking down 45 of its last 96 shots from 3-point range (46.9 percent). The Aztecs went 9 of 59 from behind the arc in their first three games.
While San Diego State has made 31.7 percent of its 3-pointers in the last four games against San Diego (6-5), it's shot 49.3 percent overall in those contests.
They connected on half of their shots in their ninth win in the past 10 matchups last season. San Diego State has also won five straight home meetings with the Toreros, along with 27 in a row against in-state opponents and 20 consecutive games in December.
"We know (San Diego is) going to be ready but we'll be ready also," Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said.
San Diego has won a season-high three straight and had its best shooting performance in two seasons at 60.0 percent in an 88-65 win over Arizona Christian on Tuesday. Senior forward Ken Rancifer, averaging 9.4 points, scored a career-high 27 and shot 10 of 12.
Johnny Dee, scoring a team-best 15.0 points per game, had 12 against San Diego State last season while Chris Manresa led the Toreros with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Manresa, averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 boards in 2012-13, has missed seven games due to an ailing back.
San Diego State was hoping that sophomore forward James Johnson, a transfer from Virginia, would make his debut in this game but because the schools' finals don't end until Saturday, he'll likely have to wait until Tuesday's visit from Point Loma Nazarene.
Updated December 14, 2012