Feb 022006
Authors: Trevor Edy

After coming off their fifth straight loss, the CSU men's basketball team looks to end the longest losing streak of the season as they play host to the San Diego State Aztecs Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Rams are coming off a 71-56 loss to the Air Force Academy on Wednesday night in Colorado Springs, where sophomore center Jason Smith scored 27 points, shooting 9 for 12 on the night. However, the Falcons proved to be too much for the Rams as they defeated them for their seventh conference loss of the season, moving them to an overall record of 12-9 (1-7 MWC).

CSU now looks to start the second half of conference-play with a win against the visiting Aztecs.

"The first half of the season is in the past, so we are looking to start this second half with a win," said assistant coach Nathan Kirkpatrick.

In their first meeting, SDSU handed the Rams a loss by a score of 83-75. CSU was down by 17 points at one point, but closed the gap to within one with less than three minutes left to play in the game. However, late free throws by the Aztecs gave them their first conference win of the season.

"We are going to come out with more energy and be more aggressive," said senior guard Andrew Patterson.

The Aztecs boast the two top scorers in the MWC, with junior forward Brandon Heath scoring 17.4 a night. Heath is No. 2 in the conference behind junior guard Marcus Slaughter, who averages17.4 per game.

Heath and junior transfer Mohamed Abukar finished the last game with 22 a piece, something that the Rams want to prevent from happening on Saturday.

"We got to lock down Heath," Kirkpatrick said. "Last time we weren't really sure what Abukar could do, I think this time we will be more aware of what he can do."

The Aztecs are currently ranked No. 1 in the conference with a 9-1 record in the MWC, 14-6 overall.

Junior forward Michael Harrison had the hot hand by leading the Rams in scoring, converting on 9 of his 14 attempts from the field to end with 21 points.

"If we start missing some shots, we need to run our offense and get the ball to whoever has the hot hand," Kirkpatrick said.

This game will mark the halfway point in conference play as the Rams look to revive their season with 5 of their last eight games at home.

"At this point we have to take it one game at a time, and play each game like its out last," Patterson said.


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