SAN DIEGO (AP) - It took the No. 4 San Diego State Aztecs all of four seconds to show how they were going to respond after a tough loss at No. 9 BYU three nights earlier.
Malcolm Thomas controlled the opening tip and passed to Billy White for an easy layup, and the rout was on against Wyoming. The Aztecs opened with a 14-0 run, got a career-high 24 points from sophomore guard Chase Tapley and raced past Wyoming 96-57 on Saturday night.
The Aztecs made a school-record 17 3-pointers, on 33 attempts. They had a season-high point total on a night when two of their three leading scorers, Kawhi Leonard and Thomas, had only two points apiece.
``This was a good feeling for the Aztecs,' coach Steve Fisher said. ``I think all of us were just a little bit concerned - would we come out with the edge we needed, and we did.'
SDSU (21-1, 6-1 Mountain West) quickly shook off the disappointment of its first loss, a 71-58 defeat at Provo on Wednesday night, when BYU's Jimmer Fredette scored 43 points. The Aztecs jumped to leads of 14-0 and 33-11 against the Cowboys.
The victory came several hours after BYU lost 86-77 at New Mexico. San Diego State won 87-77 at New Mexico on Jan. 15.
SDSU's players saw the final minute of BYU's loss on TV.
``We knew that we have another chance now to still win the conference outright and to just focus,' said big man Brian Carlwell, who blew kisses to the crowd after fouling out. ``I remember looking at D.J. (Gay) and saying, 'No more losses.' We kind of said it at the same time. We've got a new focus again, which is good.'
Gay said the loss at BYU ``was a self-check. It let us know we can be beat if we don't come out and play the way that we want to play. I think that if we beat BYU, I don't know if we would have come out with as high energy against Wyoming today.'
Wyoming (8-13, 1-6) lost its fifth straight. Desmar Jackson had 19 points and JayDee Luster 10.
``It was kind of embarrassing, to say the least,' Luster said.
He said SDSU is ``definitely the best team we've seen so far. I thought they played a great game.'
Luster said the loud sellout crowd of 12,414 at Viejas Arena affected the Cowboys early on.
``Guys were kind of shy out there,' he said.
The Aztecs put it away in the opening minutes.
Forward Billy White made the first two baskets, including a layup 4 seconds after the opening tip and an alley-oop slam on a pass from Tapley for a 14-0 lead less than 4 minutes in. San Diego State made its first six shots, while Wyoming missed its first four, had two turnovers and had two shots blocked by Thomas.
Tapley and Gay each made a 3-pointer during the opening run.
``I've been in Division I for 15 years and that is the best student section I've ever seen,' Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer said.
Tapley made 10 of 15 shots. His previous career-high was 17 points, which he reached twice as a freshman.
Tapley credited his teammates for his big night.
``They found me when I was open. They had the confidence in me to shoot the ball,' he said.
James Rahon scored 14 points, including going 4 of 8 from 3-point range, Gay had 12, all on 3-pointers, and White scored 10. Kawhi Leonard, who had his 14th double-double at BYU despite being ill, had only two points and six rebounds Saturday night.
``The most important thing to me was 20 assists and 35 baskets - our unselfishness,' Fisher said. ``At one time we were trying to run a play for Kawhi and he said, 'Don't worry about running a play for me, we're scoring every time, let's just move the ball.' When probably our two best players, Kawhi and Malcolm, have two points between them, and they're happy about it, you've got a good team. That's very, very important. That made all of us feel good, starting with Kawhi and Malcolm.'
SDSU led 53-22 at halftime. Wyoming shot just 27.3 percent (9 of 33) in the first half.
SDSU's previous 3-point high was 16 against UC San Diego on Dec. 2, 2002.
``When they make their perimeter shots like that, I don't think there is anyone in the country who can beat them here,' Schroyer said.
After Wyoming pulled to 16-9, SDSU went on a 17-2 run to jump to a 33-11 lead with 7:50 left before halftime. Gay and Rahon each hit a 3-pointer, and Tapley had a three-point play.
The Associated Press News Service
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