The Rams were so close but couldn't score in the final seconds, losing another close game Saturday in Indiana, as the Purdue Boilermakers squeaked by winning 69-68.
CSU was down by 10 points at the half, trailing 26-36. Coming out from the break, Purdue went on a 7-0 run, increasing its lead to 17 points. The Rams fought back late in the game with their own 8-0 run, capped by a Jon Rakiecki 3-pointer. The basket gave the Rams their first lead in the game since they lead 4-3 two minutes in to the game.
On the ensuing trip down the court for the Boilermakers, Xavier Price was fouled going into the basket, with only 8.9 seconds left. He made both free throws, taking the lead back for Purdue, and they never lost it. The Rams inbounds play was bobbled by Jason Smith and as he tried to pass the ball to junior Micheal Morris, Purdue's Carl Landry stole the ball to run out the clock.
"Losing the game like this wasn't the best momentum for our kids," said head coach Dale Layer in the Coloradoan. "But they had big hearts to get back into the game."
The Rams trailed Purdue 53-36 with just over 12 minutes to play in the game before going on a 34-12 run.
Freshman forward Jason Smith had a career night as he scored 18 points, the most of his career. He also brought down seven rebounds, a team high.
Seniors Matt Nelson and Rakiecki had 17 and 15 points each respectively, both season highs. Rakiecki went 4-of-8 from three point range, the last one being the most important.
David Teague led the way for the Boilermakers as he had a game-high 23 points, hitting six 3-pointers in the game. Landry added 16 points, while senior Brandon McKnight chipped in with 10 to complete the scoring for Purdue.
The Rams have the next week off as they take finals. Their next game is on the road, on Saturday at Colorado as they try to end their 11-game road-losing streak. The game is set for 7 p.m. at the Coors Event Center in Boulder.