The San Diego State Aztecs trailed New Mexico by 11 points just before halftime in the Mountain West Conference tournament championship game and Jamaal Franklin had just been whistled for a foul.
TV cameras appeared to show the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year flipping the middle finger at the referee.
Franklin denied it.
''No, not at all,'' Franklin said after the 18th-ranked Aztecs were overpowered 68-59 by the Lobos, who won the title and an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
Assistant coach Tony Bland, who tried to calm the star guard, later said he didn't see a gesture.
''I just thought he was frustrated,'' Bland said. ''I didn't know exactly what was going on. I just went up to him. It was a tough game. We were losing. I just wanted to calm him down and let him know we had a whole other half.''
Tony Snell made four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 14 points, and Drew Gordon had 12 points and 1...