Feb 242002

The suspensions were served, the injuries healed, the sicknesses cured and it appeared as if things were on the up and up for the CSU men’s basketball team.

The Rams took Wyoming to overtime, and then found a big win against Michigan.

But then the team returned to Mountain West Conference play and proceeded to lose three straight, including Saturday’s 72-60 defeat on the road at New Mexico. CSU now stands just 1-10 in league and 10-16 overall.

The latest defeat was the result of the Rams shooting just 37 percent from the field, and their leading scorer, junior forward Brian Greene, notching only 12 points. Meanwhile, UNM’s top scorer was Ruben Douglas with 30 points.

CSU had the lead early in the game, but then went more than seven minutes without a field goal. The Lobos took a 33-21 lead into the intermission, and widened that to as much as 18 in the second half. The Rams managed to cut the lead to nine just under three minutes remaining, but that was as close as they would get.

The loss was CSU’s 14th consecutive defeat at the hands of the Lobos. The only time the Rams have won in Albuquerque since 1972 was a 67-65 overtime win in 1993.

For past two seasons, the key reason for CSU’s struggles with UNM has been Douglas, who has averaged better than 24 points in five games against the Rams.

CSU stays on the road tonight when it faces Air Force (9-15, 3-8)), against which the Rams have found their lone conference win this year. The battle of the MWC basement tips off at 7 p.m.

Likewise, the Falcons enter the game riding a three-game losing streak, as they are fresh off a 51-48 loss to Wyoming on Saturday. However, one of their three conference wins was over the same UNM team CSU just fell to. n

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