MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

March 23, 2013

Sooners sent home: OU’s season over with loss to San Diego State

PHILADELPHIA – San Diego State traveled 2,732 miles to play in the NCAA tournament. The Aztecs surely didn’t mind delaying their return trip home.

Jamaal Franklin scored 21 points, James Rahon had 17 and San Diego State beat Oklahoma 70-55 on Friday night to earn its third NCAA tournament victory.

The seventh-seeded Aztecs (23-10) will play No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday in the South Regional. The Eagles introduced themselves to the college basketball world with a 78-68 win over Georgetown.

After that thriller, this game never stood a chance.

The Aztecs did nothing spectacular, but everything well and used a modest 8-0 run late in the second half to snap a tie game and take control. The Aztecs are in the tournament for the fourth straight season but they had only won games in 2011 when they reached the round of 16.

Built around upperclassman, the Aztecs firmly believed they had a deep run ahead and wanted to send out seniors like Chase Tapley and DeShawn Stevens as winners. They treated the game like a business trip and played like it, doing enough to advance for at least one more game.

“You just want to go to your teammates and just hug them,” Tapley said. “We just accomplished something. Let’s keep on going.”

Romero Osby scored 22 points for the 10th-seeded Sooners (20-12).

Basketball fans looking for flashy dunks and YouTube worthy highlights will have to look at other games around the bracket.

Most of the crowd of 20,125 – perhaps spent from watching the Florida Gulf Coast-Georgetown upset – left by the time the Aztecs wrapped this one up.

Franklin said nothing has topped the run to the regionals semifinals in 2011. But he’d like to try.

“I have so many memories that I can’t say this memory is the best I have,” he said. “I’m just thankful to be on the San Diego State basketball team.”

No other player hit double digits for the Sooners. Lon Kruger became the first coach to lead five different programs to the NCAA tournament. He brought Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV into the tournament.

“The timing of not making shots was not good,” Kruger said.

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