Desperately needing a win and with their back against the wall, the CSU Rams couldnâ€™t respond.
The Rams (15-14, 6-9 MWC) lost their fifth straight game Wednesday night, falling to the San Diego State Aztecs (21-8, 10-5) 68-55 at Vejas Arena in San Diego.
Down 14 at the break, things didnâ€™t get any easier for the Rams in the second half. After trading baskets with the Aztecs early in the half, the Rams quickly dug a hole they couldnâ€™t climb out of. With 14 minutes left in the game, Aztec point guard D.J. Gay hit a three pointer, giving the Aztecs a game-high 19 point lead. CSU made a slight surge late, but it wasnâ€™t near enough to pull out the win.
Gay finished with a game-high 16 points for the Aztecs including four three-pointers as SDSU cruised to a 13 point win and a 2-0 sweep of the regular season series. Forward Kawhi Leonard added 15 rebounds in the SDSU win.
Rams head coach Tim Miles said he was pleased with how his team played late in the second quarter and explained that early turnovers were really the difference in the game. CSU had 14 turnovers leading to 23 SDSU points in the contest.
â€œWe just had a few errors that let the game get away from us,â€ Miles said. â€œIt wasnâ€™t the number of turnovers it was the type of turnovers. Weâ€™re not that far from being in this game down to the wire.â€
The Rams never led in the game and got off to a slow start against the Aztecs, failing to hit a field goal until four minutes into the game while falling behind 13-5. CSUâ€™s struggles persisted throughout the half as the Rams headed into the locker room down 33-19 at the break. SDSU ended the half on an 8-2 run.
Andy Ogide led CSU in the loss, posting 14 points and nine rebounds. Travis Busch was the only other CSU player with double digit scoring with 11 points and four rebounds.
Rams guard Mike Anesse said he liked how the Rams didnâ€™t give up after the second half, adding the team needs to carry that attitude into the remainder of the season.
â€œWe played with a different energy in the second half,â€ the senior said in a post game interview on 560 KLZ-AM. â€œWe have to carry that on to Utah (the Rams next opponent) and in the postseason.â€
With the loss, the Rams have now dropped five straight games and fail to move up from the sixth seed in the Mountain West Conference. CSU is set to close out the regular season Saturday as they host the Utah Utes in Moby Arena.
Annese said that it will be a big game for the Rams.
â€œItâ€™s the biggest game of the season and a win will go a long way of accomplishing our goal of going into the postseason,â€ he said. â€œThey are playing well, but we are confident we can get a win.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.