The CSU Rams (9-20 4-11) fell to the New Mexico Lobos (19-10 10-4) Saturday night in heart breaking fashion, losing in double overtime 79-81.
Down two points and with seven seconds left, the Rams in bounded the ball to senior Willis Gardner. The guard took the ball all the way up court, but missed the game tying lay up. A follow by the Rams would miss off the iron as time expired.
Senior Marcus Walker was stellar for CSU in the loss, posting 31 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Rams head coach Tim Miles was disappointed by the loss, explaining it has been a tough week for Ram fans.
“It’s like a bad dream, a sickening bad dream that makes you want to puke,” he said. “If we are going to win, these are the types of games we are going to be in. It’s going to be dog fight right to the end.”
Walker shared credit for his performance with his teammates, explaining that they made it possible.
“My teammates found me,” he said. “I came out struggling and thinking about the wrong things early. Then I settled in and my teammates found me which allowed me to make moves.”
The Rams trailed for most of the first half falling behind 30-23 going into halftime. CSU would find their game midway through the second half, taking a lead deep into regulation. With 13 seconds left in the second half, the Rams found themselves up by 5 points.
New Mexico would respond quickly, posting a three pointer from guard Chad Toppert, bringing the Lobos with in two. With one second left, UNM forward Daniel Farris hit a lay up and sending the game into overtime.
Miles said he saw the comeback coming, but couldn’t act quick enough to stop it. The second year CSU coach blamed the made shots on poor defense.
“The guy who should be in front of the ball got behind the ball,” said Miles. “He didn’t switch out and Toppert got hit the wide open three. We knew it was coming.”
In the first overtime, CSU fell behind early, but battled back within two points of UNM with time running out. Walker wasn’t finished yet, hitting a lay up for the Rams with 11 seconds left, tying the game at 71 and sending the game to double overtime.
Walker explained that he only has two more guaranteed games left in the season and plans to keep playing his heart out during them.
“For me, it could be my final two games, but I’m trying to stretch them as far as I can,” he said.
Up next for the Rams is the regular season finale against the San Diego State Aztecs on Wednesday.
Men’s Basketball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com