By OSKAR GARCIA
HONOLULU — Chase Tapley thinks Indiana State gave No. 18 San Diego State its toughest test of the season.
Now he hopes it pushes the Aztecs forward as they look toward Mountain West play and a possible NCAA Tournament berth.
“We need games like that for later on,” said Tapley, who scored 13 points as the Aztecs (11-1) beat Indiana State 62-55 despite poor free throw and 3-point shooting. “It gives us good experience.”
Jamaal Franklin had 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead San Diego State to the finals of the Diamond Head Classic tournament on Tuesday. The Aztecs will play Tuesday’s late game winner of the Arizona vs. Miami game. The championship game will be played at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and televised on ESPN.
San Diego State pulled ahead for good during a seven-point run that included five straight points from Tapley. With less than five minutes to play, Tapley drove to the basket and was stopped by Jake Odum, who was called for a flagrant foul. Tapley made two free throws, and a quick 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, giving the Aztecs a 51-44 lead.
The Sycamores (6-4) got no closer than three points after that.
“Every trip down the floor seemed like a big possession,” San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. “Both teams came up empty at times.”
Franklin was one rebound shy of his career high, set last season against Colorado State. Xavier Thames had 12 points.
RJ Mahurin had 15 points, and Manny Arop added 13 for Indiana State.
“We knew it was going to be tough, and coming in we’d have to grind and grind and grind on them,” Mahurin said.
Neither team established a clear advantage beyond a few key runs until San Diego State gained control late.
The Aztecs went on a 9-1 run midway through the first half to take a 20-13 lead with just under eight minutes left, capped by a three-pointer by Tapley. But the Sycamores pulled to within 28-25 at halftime.
Mahurin hit a 3-pointer from the right wing three minutes into the second half to give Indiana State a 32-31 lead.
The game had five ties and six lead changes.
East Tennessee 61
Vander Joaquim had 23 points and nine rebounds and Christian Standhardinger 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead Hawaii (6-4).
Teammates Isaac Fotu (14 points, 14 rebounds) and Manroop Clair (15 points) rounded out the potent attack.
Jarvis Jones and Rashawn Rembert each had 14 points to lead East Tennessee.
The tournament wraps up Tuesday with some action, including the final, shown on ESPN.