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Aztecs Claim Share of MWC Title

The No. 21 men's basketball team beat TCU 98-92 to clinch a second consecutive Mountain West Conference title.
SDSU guard Jamal Franklin shoots over TCU forward Adrick McKinney. AP Photo/sharon Ellman
SDSU guard Jamal Franklin shoots over TCU forward Adrick McKinney. AP Photo/sharon Ellman

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Jamaal Franklin scored a career-high 35 points, including the go-ahead three-point play in overtime, and No. 21 San Diego State claimed a share of its second consecutive Mountain West Conference title with a 98-92 victory over TCU on Saturday night.

The Aztecs (24-6, 10-4 MWC) blew an 18-point lead in the second half but recovered in time.

Franklin made a driving layup while being fouled with 3:34 left in overtime, then hit the free throw for an 88-85 lead. After a TCU miss, Xavier Thames added another layup for San Diego State.

TCU (17-13, 7-7) had won eight straight home games, the last two over Top 25 teams.

San Diego State will share the Mountain West regular-season title with New Mexico (24-6, 10-4), which beat Boise State at home earlier Saturday.

Important win

But the Aztecs, the two-time defending tournament champion, will be the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament in Las Vegas. They own the tiebreaker by virtue of their season sweep of TCU, which a week earlier beat the then-No. 18 Lobos 83-64.

Franklin also grabbed 13 rebounds for his 11th double-double in the last 16 games.

Chase Tapley added 18 points for the Aztecs, while Thames had 16 and James Rahon 12.

Hank Thorns scored 25 points in his last home game for the Horned Frogs. J.R. Cadot had a career-high 24, including 14 in a 32-14 run over a 10-minute stretch in the second half when TCU tied the game at 77.

San Diego State led 63-45 after Rahon had a steal that turned into a fast-break layup by Tapley with 15:21 left in regulation.

Big comeback

But Cadot and the Frogs made a huge charge and almost pulled off another upset at home against a Top 25 team.

Just as they had 2 1/2 weeks ago in their win over then-No. 11 UNLV, the Frogs stormed back from an 18-point deficit in the final 15 minutes to get into overtime. They won that game 102-97 for their first win over a ranked team in five years, and backed that up with the big victory New Mexico.

TCU got even with San Diego State at 77 when Connell Crossland made two free throws with 5:40 left.

The Frogs took their first lead since 6 1/2 minutes before halftime when Thorns hit a 3-pointer from right wing to make it 83-80 with 1:46 left.

After Tim Shelton made a putback while being fouled and then added a tying free throw with 21 seconds left to tie the game again, TCU had one more chance. But Thorns missed on a drive when his bank shot ricocheted off the rim and Shelton came down with the rebound.

San Diego State has won 14 of its last 15 overtime games.

SDSU winning streak

The Aztecs ended the regular season by winning their last four games. That came after the program's first three-game losing streak in more than four years, which included a home loss to New Mexico after having beaten the Lobos on their home court in mid-January.

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