Playing its only game in a 15-day span, San Diego State would like to take advantage of its final tuneup before the start of conference play.
The 19th-ranked Aztecs will try to bounce back from a loss and prepare for a successful Mountain West Conference season when they host Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday night.San Diego State (11-2) will have had eight days to dwell on a 68-67 defeat to No. 3 Arizona in the final of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Christmas Day.The Aztecs' 11-game winning streak ended in dramatic fashion when the Wildcats' Nick Johnson blocked a last-second layup attempt by Chase Tapley."It's hard when you have a chance to win a championship, have a shot to beat an undefeated team, and you don't quite get it done," coach Steve Fisher said. "It hurts badly."Fisher's team looks to rebound with its ninth straight win at Viejas Arena before waiting another six days to open conference play at Fresno State on Jan. 9.San Diego State has matched the 1984-85 team and 2011-12 squad for the second-best start in Aztecs Division I history. The 2010-11 team opened with 20 consecutive victories."We know we can play with any team in the country," Tapley said. "We just need to learn how to finish games."Tapley, who led San Diego State with 19 points against Arizona, will try to carry over the momentum from a strong tournament performance. The senior guard averaged 21.7 points and scored 33 in the tourney opener versus San Francisco.Junior Jamaal Franklin, the team leader with 17.2 points per game, looks to get back on track after scoring nine to fall short of double figures for the first time in 32 games.Franklin is the only player in the nation averaging at least 17.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.5 steals.After shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 50.8 from 3-point range in their previous four games, the Aztecs have made 42.7 percent overall and 23.5 percent (8 of 34) from beyond the arc over their last two.San Diego State may be able to improve its accuracy against a Cal State Bakersfield team that has allowed opponents to shoot 50.7 percent in the last five games.The Roadrunners (6-10) overcame a poor shooting performance of their own to win for the second time in six games Sunday, 60-52 over North Carolina A&T.Cal State Bakersfield, which hit 34.0 percent from the field, will have to get leading scorer Stephon Carter going after he finished with seven points and shot 1 of 6 on Sunday. The senior guard had scored at least 15 points in his previous nine contests, averaging 18.8 over that span.Sophomore Javonte Maynor has reached double figures in five consecutive games after finishing with a team-best 19 points against the Aggies.The Roadrunners face a tough test offensively against the Aztecs, who are on pace to set school records for points allowed per game (57.9) and field-goal percentage defense (38.2).San Diego State is seeking its 35th straight regular-season win over an unranked non-conference opponent as these teams meet for the first time.