Feb 212002

Forgive the Rams for not being upbeat.

The CSU men’s basketball team is nearing the end of a disastrous, injury-filled season that’s seen its record drop to 10-15 overall, 1-9 conference.

And while the Rams’ record would be disappointing regardless, the manner in which their record has gotten this way makes it even tougher to take.

Twelve of the Rams 15 losses have come by nine points or less. The Rams have held the lead in many of those games, including tight games versus co-league leaders Wyoming and Utah.

But the Rams have managed to find different ways to lose those games, and seemingly hit rock bottom when they threw away a three-point lead with three seconds left against UNLV Monday.

But as deflated as it is, the team has continued to repeat the mantra that it’ll find a way to rebound from these tough losses.

“We’ve got to forget this and move on,” said freshman forward Matt Williams. “We’ve improved in every game we’ve played. We just have to forget these losses and concentrate on New Mexico and then the tournament coming up.”

Junior forward Brian Greene agreed.

“It’s been the story of our season,” said Greene, who has scored in double figures his past 20 games. “We’ve been in every game we’ve played, we just haven’t been able to pull them out down the stretch. We can’t get down on ourselves though. We have to forget these tough ones and get ready for New Mexico.”

The Rams will look to get back on track at New Mexico Saturday night, but they will once again have their hands full.

Earlier this season, the Lobos (14-10, 4-6) came to Moby and beat the Rams 70-64, despite a 20-point effort from junior Andy Birley and 17 from Greene. The Lobos’ leading scorer, junior Rueben Douglas, tallied 23 points and five boards in UNM’s victory.

The Rams were not at full strength then, missing sophomore swingman Ronnie Clarke and getting limited work from freshman center Matt Nelson.

With the Rams now being the closest to full strength they have been in a while, they are confident they can compete with any team in the MWC.

“It’s not a question as to whether or not we can beat these teams,” Greene said. “We know we can beat them. We just have to go out, play tough and get a few in the win column.” n

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