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11/17/2012 6:13 PM EST
No. 23 San Diego St beats Missouri St 60-44
SAN DIEGO ST 60, MISSOURI ST 44

By KARY BOOHER
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Asked what it took to turn the tide, San
Diego State's Jamaal Franklin, clenched his left fist and then
thumped his chest.



"Heart. We've got a lot of heart. We do what it takes to win,"
Franklin said Saturday after the No. 23-ranked Aztecs beat
Missouri State 60-44 Saturday for a nonconference victory that
coach Steve Fisher likened to the tough-as-nails road showdowns
in the Mountain West.



Franklin scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half to put No.
23 San Diego State up early, and James Rahon hit a key 3-pointer
late.



"This was the kind of game we thought we were going to have in
terms of how hard we would be played. They were physical and
knocked us back early on," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher
said.



Fisher later added this, "I thought our half-court defense kept
them from getting good, clean looks and allowed us to win the
game."



The Aztecs, playing the equivalent of a noon game on the West
Coast time, appeared groggy much of the first half and then
found themselves engaged in a defensive battle usually seen in
the Bears' mid-major Missouri Valley Conference.



The Aztecs led 39-30 midway through the second half before the
Bears rallied. Missouri State (1-1) pulled within 41-37 on
Anthony Downing's basket with 7:13 left.



But the Aztecs pulled away thanks to 3-pointers on consecutive
possessions from Rahon and Chase Tapley.



It was the second consecutive victory for San Diego State since
the Aztecs lost the season opener against Syracuse.



Franklin finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds.



Missouri State was led by Downing's 16 points. Keith Pickens,
who missed the season opener to rest injured knees, had nine
points and six rebounds.



San Diego State's athleticism and length won out over Missouri
State, which lacks a true post presence. The Aztecs dominated in
rebounds, 52-34, and frustrated Missouri State into shooting
28.1 percent (16 of 57) for the game.



The 16-point margin was the most by a visitor in JQH Arena,
which opened in November 2008.



"We knew they were going to come in here and give us a battle. I
felt like our freshmen, I think they all battled and we played
our hearts out. We just came up short," Downing said. "If we
would have rebounded, it would have been a different outcome
than what it was."



The Aztecs outrebounded the Bears 52-34.



Missouri State is in a rebuilding mode just two years after
winning the MVC regular-season title, led by then-conference
player of the year Kyle Weems, who graduated last season.



Drew Wilson led Missouri State with nine rebounds, and Dorrian
Williams scored eight points for the Bears.



"I thought it really affected us in the first half when Pickens
and Christian were out for an indefinite amount of time,"
Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. "We hung in there. But
that's our best defensive unit. And then our lack of experience
showed at times."



San Diego State plays host to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday
before back-to-back games against Southern Cal and UCLA.



"I told our team, `This is going to be like a road game in the
league, this is going to be a Mountain West Conference road
game, and you know what those are like,"' Fisher said. "And it
was."

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