The CSU menâ€™s basketball team has seen an eight-game winning streak quickly turn into two big losses.
In consecutive road games against Wyoming and New Mexico the Rams have lost by an average of 26 points.
And in both games CSU (13-6, 2-2 MW) has been jumped on right from the opening tip and havenâ€™t been able to bounce back.
â€œWhen we get behind early, we have not done well. And what that tells me is we get impulsive and impatient,â€ CSU coach Tim Miles said. â€œ…That tells me that mentally I havenâ€™t done a good enough job preparing them and making it hard enough in practice, probably because weâ€™ve had a pretty good roll going, pretty good run going, and I didnâ€™t want to screw that up. And obviously, in retrospect a guy regrets that.â€
The Ramsâ€™ road doesnâ€™t get any easier as they continue a brutal stretch on Saturday against the No. 13/12 San Diego State Aztecs.
San Diego State (18-2, 4-0 MW) comes into the game with 11 consecutive wins and is at the top of the Mountain West conference.
To get back on track, CSU will have to reverse a couple of trends from the last two games.
The Rams, averaging 73 points per game on the season, have barely broken the 50-point mark in consecutive losses. CSU is averaging under 40 percent shooting in those games and, most alarmingly, the Rams have turned the ball over a combined 34 times in the two games.
â€œI think the guys have been discouraged by the way we have played on offense and thatâ€™s certainly hurt us defensively,â€ Miles said. â€œThe ball handling errors is a bigger problem to me because that leads to easy baskets.â€
Mental toughness, Miles said, is the key to turning things around. He is hoping that the veteran leaders on his team will help to put their foot down and make a statement.
Facing a top-ranked team while struggling doesnâ€™t seem ideal, but it does provide an opportunity for CSU to quickly turn things around.
â€œThe biggest thing for us is not to panic right now,â€ junior Dorian Green said. â€œWeâ€™ve got a top-15 team in San Diego State coming into town, thatâ€™s a big resume game for us.â€
And with a white-out home crowd, and free pizza for the first 2,500 students, Miles is hoping for a rocking stadium to help boost his struggling team.
â€œOur students have been our life-blood. Every time weâ€™ve had a home game here, Montana to Colorado to Boise, theyâ€™ve been phenomenal.â€
A message from head coach Tim Miles can be found here.
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: No. 13/12 San Diego State vs. CSU
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: Moby Arena
Live chat: Collegian.com
Promotion: Free pizza to first 2,500 students. Fans are encouraged to wear white.