The past two games were cause for panic — and not just any old panic. After getting pounded at Colorado State and falling dickfirst into a hollow victory against Boise State, Aztecs fans were experiencing the kind of irrational fear and paranoia usually reserved for a zombie apocalypse or a carne asada shortage.
Well, I think we can all come out from our homemade fallout shelters now. Jeremy Castleberry just came by to tell us the coast is clear.
The Aztecs secured yet another 20-win season and snapped out of their mini funk by beating TCU by 10 points. And if it wasn’t for a flood of walk-ons in garbage time, it probably would have been a 20 point teabagging. But the final score is beside the point — the most significant development was the way that SDSU played.
Namely, all smart-like and crap.
On the offensive end, the Aztecs actually seemed to have an idea. They got the ball inside. They made the extra pass. They busted ass on the glass. Basically, for the first time in three games, the Aztecs played like the Aztecs.
Jamaal Franklin was the embodiment of the transformation. Sure, he brought down the house with a redonkulous reverse jam and notched another double-double, but he does that kind of stuff even when he plays poorly. Ho hum, right?
What stood out tonight is that — one game after notching six turnovers against Boise State — he played under control throughout, his shot selection was superb, and I can’t remember a singe cringe-worthy moment. Bottle that, please.
No less encouraging was the play of DeShawn Stephens (remember him?), who chipped in 13 points and six boards off the bench and was a big part of helping SDSU actually have a semblance of an inside presence.
It was also great to see James Rahon shake off a little ice (OK, a lot of ice) from beyond the arc, helping to answer some hot TCU shooting early on. Dude was also hustling after loose balls and offensive rebounds like a mofo.
Another welcome sight: Mighty, invincible UNLV lost on Saturday at Casa de Poop and Pee. That means that whatever happens next weekend at Viejas East, the Aztecs will still hold a share of first place in the Mountain West.
Or they could just make it a two-game lead. If they play as smart as they did tonight, they just might.