FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Jamaal Franklin was leaning into a defender, trying to draw a foul while shooting a 3-pointer on a broken play for No. 21 San Diego State late in regulation.
The shot was short and there wasn't a whistle, not until Tim Shelton grabbed the rebound and scored on a putback while being fouled. He made the tying free throw for the Aztecs, who after blowing an 18-point lead pulled out a 98-92 overtime victory at TCU on Saturday night for a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title.
``We wouldn't be able to go into overtime if it wasn't for Tim getting that rebound and making that big free throw,' said Franklin, whose career-high 35 points included the go-ahead three-point play in overtime.
That play at the end of regulation was meant for Shelton to get the ball and make a pass, but the senior forward never got open. And the play designed to Chase Tapley to shoot got reversed by TCU's coverage.
But Shelton was in position for the rebound when he saw Franklin's shot was off target.
``It was a fitting climax for the end of his regular-season career that Tim Shelton would get that three-point play,' coach Steve Fisher said. ``When it really looked like we weren't going to win, when it looked like they were going to storm from behind and not allow us to win.'
The Aztecs (24-6, 10-4 MWC) finally went ahead to stay when Franklin made a driving layup while being fouled with 3:34 left in overtime and added a 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.
``We brought things back. We just couldn't pull it off,' TCU forward Craig Williams said.
San Diego State its second consecutive Mountain West regular-season title with New Mexico (24-6, 10-4), which beat Boise State at home earlier Saturday.
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.
``We wanted to get (this win) faster and sooner,' Franklin said. ``We stuck together, we fought this one out. ... Everybody was just playing well today for TCU and our team, we just did a little more to win.'
Franklin also grabbed 13 rebounds for his 11th double-double in the last 16 games.
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.
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 Shelton's three-point play with 21 seconds left tied it at 83, 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.
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.
A buzzer-beating layup by DeShawn Stephens at the end of the first half put San Diego State up 46-34. That capped a 10-2 run over the final 2:01 of the first half, and the Aztecs added to that with two baskets in the first 44 seconds after halftime.
``This was a tough game, and a hard-fought game. I knew, our coaches knew, I'm not sure our players knew,' Fisher said. ``When we hit the first two baskets in the second half and we were up 16, they took a timeout. They weren't going to go away. I've watched enough.'
The Associated Press News Service
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