Feb 082004
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

The CSU men’s basketball team has one win at The Pit in

Albuquerque, N.M., in the last 34 games, and Saturday’s 63-51 loss

to New Mexico only added to the team’s frustration in games on the

Lobos’ home floor.

The Rams lost their ninth straight and 33rd out of the last 34

games played at The Pit in front of 16,101 fans in Albuquerque

Saturday. CSU (11-9 overall, 3-4 Mountain West Conference) scored

only six points in the game’s first 10 minutes and shot just 37.5

percent from the floor, while New Mexico (12-8, 3-4) shot 46.7

percent.

“It’s really tough to win in this building,” said freshman point

guard Dwight Boatner during an interview with 1410 KIIX after the

game.

Despite snapping its three-game conference winning streak and

dropping under .500 in Mountain West play, CSU maintained its

third-place standing in the conference, but the Rams are now tied

with four other teams at 3-4. Air Force, who the Rams play tonight

at 7 p.m. in Colorado Springs, leads the conference with a 6-1

record, with Utah one game behind at 5-2. CSU, New Mexico, Brigham

Young, San Diego State and Nevada-Las Vegas all have 3-4 records

and Wyoming sits in last place at 2-5.

The Rams hung in the game with New Mexico by holding Lobos’

leading scorer Danny Granger to just 13 points, his second lowest

output of the season.

“The defensive effort was pretty darn good,” said CSU head coach

Dale Layer on KIIX. “We were struggling to score points.”

The Rams tried many lineup combinations to try to find ways to

score without the services of 7-foot center Matt Nelson, who has

missed the last two games with a sprained right knee and is

doubtful for today’s game at Air Force.

“We’re trying to figure out where we’re going to get those

points that we were getting from (Nelson),” Boatner said.

Boatner, who has come off the bench for a majority of CSU’s

games, started and led the Rams with 11 points Saturday, with no

other Rams reaching double figures. Point guard Troy DeVries led

New Mexico with 15 points, most coming off drives to the basket in

the second half. The officials called many offensive fouls in the

game to the dismay of Layer, who said he wanted his team to attack

the basket.

New Mexico led the game 28-20 at halftime and the Rams would get

no closer than five points in the second half. Granger sealed the

win for the Lobos with 3:27 to play when he rebounded a free throw

miss by a teammate and dunked the ball to put New Mexico ahead

55-40.

The Good

The Rams have been getting increased production out of their

true freshmen. Point guard Dwight Boatner started Saturday and led

the Rams with 11 points. Forward Philip Thomasson chipped in seven

points off the bench and center Steven Verwers started for the

injured Matt Nelson.

The Bad

The Rams shot only 37.5 percent from the floor and were only

2-of-13 from 3-point range for the game.

The Ugly

CSU point guard Micheal Morris came crashing down hard on his

right leg after going up for a layup with 15:40 left in the first

half. Morris left the game holding his right leg but would return

to action later in the game.

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