It’s not easy being green . and gold.
CSU basketball fans have faced tough times over the past two seasons, but Rams head coach Tim Miles explained that the past two weeks may have brought about a new level of difficulty.
The Rams are 1-3 in the past two weeks, falling to Utah in overtime on Feb. 18, losing to arch rival Wyoming on a missed last second shot Feb. 25 and now posting a heartbreaking 79-81 double-overtime loss to New Mexico Saturday night.
Miles said it’s not easy to be a fan of CSU basketball right now.
“If I’m a Rams fan, it’s been a week of torture,” the second-year coach said. “How many times can you have the game in order and find a way to muck it up?”
CSU owned a five-point lead over New Mexico with less than fifteen seconds to go. A long three pointer by UNM guard Chad Toppert, a Rams turnover and a buzzer beating lay-up later, the Lobos sent the game into overtime.
CSU had enough to force the game into a second overtime as Rams guard Marcus Walker hit a lay-up with time running out to tie the game at 71, but not enough to pull out the win. New Mexico inched past the Rams in the second overtime, outscoring CSU 10-8 during the game’s final five minutes. A Willis Gardner lay-up attempt hit off the iron for the Rams as time expired.
Walker was stellar for the CSU in the loss, making the most of his last game in Moby arena. The Kansas City native posted 31 points, four assists and three rebounds.
CSU guard Harvey Perry said both teams fought hard during the game, but the Lobos fought just a little harder.
“It’s a game of ups and downs,” the junior said. “We had our ups and they had their ups. We had our downs and they had their downs. It came down to execution offensively and defensively.”
Miles compared the loss to a bad dream and said the current Rams team has to pull out games like this if they want to have any hope of improvement.
“If we are going to win, these are the types of games we are going to be in,” he said. “We aren’t going to go out and beat a Mountain West team by 15. We’re not going to go out and put you away and control the game. It’s going to be a dogfight right to the end.”
Walker, a senior, explained that his college career is running out of time, but said he believes the Rams have the potential to make it a little longer.
“We have a guaranteed two more games, but we can go as far as our energy can take us,” he said. “Anytime we come out and play the way we did tonight, or like we did against Utah, we can play with just about anybody. For me, it’s only two games, but I’m trying to stretch them as far as I can and keep my career going.”
Up next for the Rams is the regular season finale against the San Diego State Aztecs in San Diego Wednesday night.
Men’s basketball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.