Indiana St.-San Diego St. Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- Reigning Mountain West player of the year Jamaal Franklin was back in the lineup, but Chase Tapley was the story for San Diego State in its last game.
The 18th-ranked Aztecs go for an 11th straight win - and 24th in a row in December - on Sunday when they face Indiana State in the semifinal of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.
After missing Tuesday's 76-49 victory over Point Loma Nazarene due to an ailing back, Franklin finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Saturday's 80-58 opening-round win over San Francisco.
Two late free throws helped Franklin extend his streak of double-digit scoring games to 31.
Indiana State (6-3) will obviously have to focus on Franklin - the Aztecs' leading scorer (17.8 ppg) and rebounder (9.4) - but San Diego State (10-1) is far from a one-man show as Tapley showed on Saturday after he hit six 3-pointers and set a career high with 33 points.
The senior point guard is averaging 20.4 points and has hit 19 of 31 (61.2 percent) from long range over the last five games.
"Right now, if he's unguarded, you're shocked if it doesn't go in," said Aztecs coach Steve Fisher, whose team is off to quickest start since a program-record 20-0 run to open 1970-71.
The Aztecs, undefeated since a 62-49 loss to then-No. 9 Syracuse on Nov. 11, have a chance to match the third-longest winning streak in program history.
San Diego State will go for its first victory over Indiana State in four tries. The teams' last meeting was Dec. 18, 1967, in Terre Haute, with the Sycamores winning 84-59.
Indiana State advanced to the semifinals by defeating Mississippi 87-85 in overtime on Saturday.
Junior Manny Arop continued his scoring surge with a career-best 27 points, center Justin Gant posted his first career double-double with 12 and 11 rebounds and point guard Jake Odum added 16 points, eight assists and eight boards to help the Sycamores win their second straight following back-to-back losses.
It also moved coach Greg Lansing into a tie with John Wooden for 12th place in Indiana State history with 44 wins.
Another big game from Arop and Odum could help Lansing move past the legendary coach as well as end the Sycamores' four-game slide to ranked opponents, which includes two defeats this season.
Arop is averaging 20.3 points on 10 for 20 from long range over the last four contests, while Odum is contributing 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game in December.
San Diego State hasn't lost in the final month of the year since Dec. 19, 2009, at Arizona State.
Another solid defensive performance could keep it that way. The Aztecs are holding teams to 57.3 points per game on 37.9 percent shooting.
The winner of this game with play in Tuesday night's championship.
Updated December 22, 2012