If the CSU Rams had made one more play, or had TCU not been so automatic from the free-throw line, David Cohen’s desperation heave from half court might have been more dramatic.
Instead, the CSU walk-on’s amazing basket at the buzzer only meant that the Rams lost by two points, 66-64, instead of by five Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas.
Though CSU has now lost 11 games in a row, CSU coach Tim Miles likes his team’s effort and he sees better results on the horizon.
“I thought our kids just battled their guts out,” Miles said in a university statement. “They left their heart and soul on the floor. I am not light on losing but I am proud of them. We are getting better and are going to get some wins.”
Still, the two-point difference on the scoreboard highlighted the Rams missed opportunities and mistakes that cost them the game.
The Rams knew they would face intense defensive pressure from the Frogs coming into the game, yet CSU was still doomed by 24 turnovers, and even when the Rams could break the TCU press, they often struggled to get into their offense.
CSU was also done in by TCU shooting an amazing 27-28 (96 percent) from the free throw line, after coming into the contest shooting just 65.1 percent, worst in the conference. Conversely, the Rams struggled from the line, going 12-20, including several big misses down the stretch.
CSU had entered the game with hopes to get a win for Creason, a native of nearby Coppell, Texas, but TCU did a great job collapsing into the paint and denying the 7-footer the ball. Creason made his only three shots of the game, ending up with eight points and just two rebounds.
Marcus Walker led the Rams with 20 points, but perhaps even more impressive were his 10 rebounds, a career high.
Cohen scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds, impressive for a walk-on who made the team in an open tryout this fall. He was one of two walk-ons to get extensive playing time in the game, as injuries have left the Rams with only six scholarship players.
A TCU basket at the buzzer in the first half gave the Frogs a 29-25 lead, before CSU roared out of the gates at halftime to grab a 34-29 lead, only to see TCU jump back on top.
CSU then got to within one with 2:37 left, but the Frogs wouldn’t miss from the line and the Rams couldn’t hit any 3s until the game was all but decided.
The Rams return home Saturday to host Air Force at 7 p.m.
Sports writer Matt Pucak can be reached at email@example.com.