After two straight weeks of tough losses, the road didn’t get any easier for the CSU Rams in their regular season finale Wednesday night.
The Rams (9-22, 4-12 MWC) continued their string of hard fought defeats, falling to the San Diego State Aztecs (20-8, 10-5 MWC) 68-59 at Cox Arena in San Diego.
The Aztecs completed the season sweep of the CSU, handing the Rams their third straight loss and sixth in the last seven games.
After keeping the game close for the majority of the second half, the Rams couldn’t keep up with the Aztecs late. SDSU guard Lorenzo Wade hit a deep jumpshot, putting the Aztecs up 62-53 with four minutes remaining.
San Diego cruised from there, holding on after a late charge from the Rams, including a string of four consecutive points from CSU guard Marcus Walker.
Walker, a senior, gave another gutsy performance, posting 24 points and four assists in the loss.
CSU head coach Tim Miles was disappointed with the game’s ultimate conclusion, but still found positives to take from the Rams performance.
“No one likes to lose,” the second year CSU coach said. “Our guys played hard and gave the effort needed to win. If you play this game on a neutral court, we’re right in it.”
SDSU got off to a quick start, outscoring the Rams 14-3 in the game’s first five minutes.
CSU battled back from their sloppy beginning, cutting the Aztecs lead to only three points, 36-33, going into halftime. CSU closed the half on a 13-3 run. Walker led the comeback charge for CSU, posting 13 points in the half.
Miles explained that the Rams slow start played a significant role in the loss.
“They came out with a bigger lineup which caught some of our guys off guard,” he said. “Once we adjusted, we were alright, but a slow start on the road will get you.”
With the loss, CSU is forced to compete in the play-in game of the Mountain West Conference tournament against the Air Force Falcons. The Rams swept the Falcons during the regular season.
Miles said his team has to have a short memory to have any chance of success in the tournament.
“We have to be resilient and have to be able to bounce back,” he said. “We have to get past the emotion of the situation. We’re excited to get to the tournament and play.”
CSU is scheduled to face Air Force March 11 in Las Vegas.
Men’s Basketball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.