The No. 16 San Diego State Aztecs were pushed to the edge on the road against the Fresno State Bulldogs on Wednesday night, but regained control just enough in the end to earn a 65-62 victory in what was the Mountain West opener for both teams.
San Diego State (13-2 overall, 1-0 in the Mountain West) led 33-26 at halftime, pushing their advantage to 10 with about 12 minutes remaining in the game before the Bulldogs (6-8 overall, 0-1 in the MWC) started biting back.
With 18 points (on 7-of-13 shooting) from senior forward Kevin Foster and an additional 15 (4-of-11 shooting) from junior guard Kevin Olekaibe, Fresno State even snagged 62-61 lead with under three minutes to play in the contest, thanks to a three-pointer from Olekaibe. However, that would be the last field goal of the game for either team.
The Aztecs won this one at the free-throw line, making four of their final collective six attempts from the charity stripe as both teams went cold from the floor but the Bulldogs couldn't keep San Diego State off the line.
Junior guard Jamaal Franklin made three of those six late-game free throws for the Aztecs, as he scored 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, along with five assists and three blocks in the contest. Senior James Rahon added 16 points (6-of-11 shooting) off the bench, as San Diego State will get set to face Colorado State at home on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs will take on No. 25 New Mexico on Saturday afternoon.