BOULDER â€“â€“ The Colorado State menâ€™s basketball team fell to in-state rival CU-Boulder, 90-83, in a heartbreaking overtime game.
The Rams (4-2), who trailed the Buffs (5-3) by five points with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation, were forced to foul in hopes of the Buffs missing free throws.
Buffs senior guard Cory Higgins did just that and clutch buckets from guards Dorian Green and Jesse Carr sent the game into overtime tied at 76.
In overtime the Buffs benefited from a questionable foul at mid-court that earned two free throws for Higgins, who this time made both.
After back and forth possessions, the Buffs managed to pull ahead, forcing the Rams to yet again play catch-up.
Carr missed the first of two free throws with less than a minute to go in overtime. And Rams sophomore guard Wes Eikmeier missed an uncontested layup late in overtime to seal their fate.Carr finished the game with 10 points and 5 assists, but was only 1-for-3 at the charity stripe.
Even with the missed free throws, Carr felt the game was lost on defense.
â€œWe got fight, but right now itâ€™s defense,â€ Carr said. â€œOur intentions are to be good, but weâ€™re not clamping down on the defensive end.â€
The Rams led the game 33-27 with just four seconds to play in the first half and Carr at the line for a one-and-one. The sophomore missed the first free throw, leading to a Buffsâ€™ outlet pass to junior guard Nate Tomlinson who buried a three-pointer as time expired.
Had Carr made those two free throws, the Rams could have jogged to the locker room with an eight-point advantage, but instead found themselves with a slim three point advantage at the half.
The Buffsâ€™ leading scorer was sophomore guard Alec Burks, who torched the Ramsâ€™ defense for 25 points and hit several key baskets in the second half and overtime.
Senior forwards Andy Ogide and Travis Franklin both got into foul trouble early in the first half, forcing them to sit on the bench for extended periods of time.
The Rams still managed to outscore CU in the paint 48-32, getting 19 points from Franklin and 17 from Ogide.
â€œWeâ€™ve done well against everybody inside, but we just got both those guys (Ogide and Franklin) in foul trouble,â€ said CSU coach Tim Miles.
The Buffs went to the free throw line more than twice as many times as the Rams did with a shocking 41-19 advantage in attempts. Burks and Higgins alone were sent to the line 24 times, five times more than the entire Rams roster.
The loss was not an easy one for Miles to swallow.
â€œItâ€™s maddening, it makes me livid, it makes me furious,â€ he said.
The Ramsâ€™ next game is in Kansas City, Mo. when they face the No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks.
Basketball Beat Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.