AztecReport.com hands out grades for the San Diego State players as they took on USC.
San Diego State 66 USC 60
Xavier Thames – 36 mins, 14 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 0 blks, 0 stls, 2 TO
The junior guard was the go-to guy down the stretch for the Aztecs. It was late when SDSU put the USC big's in high pick and rolls that they were unable to guard causing the perimeter defender to go underneath the screen. Thames took advantage with numerous big jump shots. It wasn't a pretty shooting performance (4-of-13) but he got them to count in clutch situations. (B)
James Rahon – 29 mins, 17 pts, 2 rebs, 0 ast, 1 blk, 2 stl, 0 TO
Rahon earned the start with Chase Tapley out with a knee strain. The fifth year senior was a huge part to the Aztecs first half success, hitting 5 of 6 from the field and both three pointers. The shooting guard only shot once in the second half, a knockdown three ball with 1:05 left in the game that gave SDSU a 7-point lead. (A)
Jamaal Franklin – 34 mins, 17 pts, 9 rebs, 3 ast, 1 blk, 1 stl, 5 TO
Franklin struggled offensively as he shot 4-for-15 and was responsible for 5 of the Aztecs 12 turnovers. All that said he was the most physical player for SDSU on both ends of the court. The junior didn't scare away from contact at any point, setting the tone of a grind it out game. Franklin was also able to get under the skin of multiple SC players, ultimately forcing Omar Oraby into a technical foul. (B)
J.J. O'Brien – 30 mins, 12 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk, 1 stl, 1 TO
In the first half the 6-foot-6 forward played his best basketball of the year. He scored 8 points by being patient and savvy around the basket with pump fakes and up-and-under post moves against the larger Trojan squad. There were moments in the second half that he was matched up defensively on 7-foot-2 Oraby, showing his versatility. But it's a little disheartening that he only grabbed 3 boards. (B-)
Deshawn Stephens – 5 mins, 2 pts, 0 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 0 TO
SDSU was without Stephens for 35 of the 40 minutes after he suffered a hip pointer just minutes into the game. He later returned for just a moment but was taken out after he couldn't continue and never returned. His status for UCLA on Saturday is in question. (Inc.)
Skylar Spencer – 30 mins, 2 pts, 11 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 0 TO
The freshman played massive minutes (30) with Stephens only playing 5 minutes due to injury. Spencer didn't do anything offensively but he was extremely important to SDSU on the glass. Aztecs frontcourt is already thin and Spencer stepped up when it was razor thin. (B)
Dwayne Polee – 19 mins, 0 pts, 3 rebs, 0 ast, 0 blk, 1 stl, 0 TO
Polee played solid defense but did gave up some points in cross match-ups during transition. He didn't get any offense looks besides missing an open three-point attempt. (C-)
Winston Shepard – 17 mins, 2 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 0 blk, 0 stl, 3 TO
It was the first game back for Shepard who struggled in the game. He never seemed comfortable and missed numerous buckets in the paint. The freshman also garnered a technical foul after chirping with an official down court. (D)
1) San Diego State was outrebounded (28-15) in the second half and gave up 13 offensive rebounds.
2) The Aztecs defense was stifling as they held USC to 33% (22-of-66) from the field including 25.8% in the first half.
3) SDSU was 7-of-15 from three-point distance while the Trojans were 5-of-17.