Feb 022011
 
Authors: Cris Tiller

A crowd of 7,353 rose to their feet, roaring in absolute bliss.

CSU forward Travis Franklin had just sliced his way into the lane and hit a game tying layup with 10 seconds left, evening the score at 54 apiece.

“Well that tied the game up, so I thought we might be going into overtime,” Franklin said.

In only 8 seconds, San Diego State senior captain D.J. Gay drove a dagger into the hearts of the Rams by nailing an 18-foot jump shot with 1.8 seconds left to play for what would be the 56-54 game-winner.

The crowd fell deadly silent.

SDSU (22-1, 7-1 MWC) coach Steve Fisher elected to force the ball up the court without calling a timeout, leaving the CSU defense in disarray.

“That situation is pretty chaotic,” sophomore guard Dorian Green said. “We just had to get the ball under control and force them to take a tough shot. Unfortunately Gay’s shot wasn’t a tough shot.”

The Rams (15-7, 5-3 MWC) battled the Aztecs the entire night never trailing by more than eight points to the No. 6 team in the country.

“It’s not good enough. We expected to win this game and we didn’t,” said senior Andy Ogide.

Ogide had a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds, giving the forward his eighth double-double of the season.

Both teams displayed a physical, defensive-minded style of play, each being held well below their season field goal percentages.

“We over-dribbled. I think it was because we couldn’t space the floor,” said CSU coach Tim Miles. “We played more in a crowd than we’re used to.”

SDSU’s leading scorer this season, sophomore Kawhi Leonard, was kept in check for most of the contest scoring 12 points, three below his season average. Leonard did manage to grab 15 rebounds.

The Rams pounded the ball inside throughout, shooting only eight three-point shots in the contest and just two in the second half.

Free throw shooting was an area of weakness for the Rams on Wednesday night, hitting just 14-of-22 from the charity stripe. Those misses proved costly, as the Rams were never able to gain control in the second half despite leading on multiple occasions.

“We shot ourselves in the foot in the first half and again in the second half by not making free throws, but at the end we did,” Ogide said. “You can blame it on free throws or on any of the other things that we didn’t do right.”
Even with a gut wrenching loss, Miles found a positive to take from the game.

“Our students are phenomenal. I got chills,” he said. “The students were hopping and jumping and I just got chills coming up my spine, and that’s what you want college basketball to be.”

The Rams remain in third place in the conference and travel to Laramie, Wyo., on Saturday for the Border War at 6 p.m.

Assistant Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:20 pm

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