Rams drop third straight

 Uncategorized
Feb 042007
 
Authors: Sean Star

New Mexico sophomore guard Chad Toppert’s first 3-point attempt of Saturday evening’s men’s basketball game against CSU missed everything but the floor, sparking an enthusiastic “airball” chant from the newly unveiled Green Machine student section for the remainder of the contest.

Toppert got revenge with three minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the second half when he silenced the home crowd of 5,796 with his first of two second half 3-pointers.

The basket gave the Lobos a 61-60 advantage, a lead the visiting team would never give up on its way to a 70-66 victory over the Rams at Moby Arena.

“They made big shot after big shot,” Rams Head Coach Dale Layer said.

The Lobos hardly resembled the same team that was defeated by the Rams 88-79 in Albuquerque on Jan. 6.

The loss was the third straight for a CSU team that, according to Layer, is now “treading water.”

“I don’t necessarily think we’re getting worse, but we’re not getting better,” Layer said. “They just broke our back with extra possessions… you just can’t keep giving them shot after shot after shot.”

Toppert’s basket was one of 12 3-three pointers on the night for the Lobos, who earned their first road victory of the season.

UNM junior Tony Danridge tied his career-high with 24 points and senior forward Aaron Johnson grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds – nine of which were on the offensive end.

“They were just being tougher than we were. Aaron Johnson was getting a lot of offensive rebounds,” said CSU junior forward Jason Smith, who finished with a team-high 16 points. “He was being a man down there.”

Smith played only seven minutes in the first half and did not take a single shot because of foul trouble, contributing to CSU’s lowest scoring half of season (22 points).

“Obviously we’re a better team with (Smith) in the game,”

Layer said. “If he played 25 or 28 minutes than it’s probably a different game.”

Smith was forced to the bench again with more than six minutes to play in the second half when he picked up his fourth foul trying to gain offensive position near the basket. His 20 total minutes were the fewest of any conference game all season.

Junior guard Tyler Smith snapped out of a recent shooting funk with a pair of clutch 3-pointers that gave the Rams a lead each time midway through the second half.

“Coach called a few plays for me and when he calls my number I got to make the shot,” Smith said. “When my shots weren’t falling, I was just trying to do everything else to help our team win.”

The loss pushed the Rams out of a tie for fourth place with idle San Diego State and into fifth.

CSU will travel to Salt Lake City to battle the Utah Utes Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Smith knows what his team needs to do to recover from its losing streak.

“We need to get our focus back; we’re struggling, but all teams struggle. We need to come back from it and I know we will come back from it.”

Men’s basketball beat writer Sean Star can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

___________________________________

CSU Rams

MIN FGM-A FTM-A OFF REB AST PF PTS

J. Smith 20 4-6 8-8 2 5 0 4 16

S. Creason 35 3-6 2-2 1 4 0 3 8

C. Lewis 35 3-10 4-4 1 7 5 1 10

T Denson 32 4-7 4-5 2 4 0 2 12

S. Gilling 28 4-6 0-1 0 4 1 4 10

X Kilby 20 1-3 0-0 0 4 2 2 2

T Smith 22 3-9 0-0 3 3 2 1 8

J Surratt 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

F. Robinson 6 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0

R. Aguilar 1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

TOTAL 200 22-48 18-20 9 32 10 17 66

UNM Lobos

MIN FGM-A FTM-A OFF REB AST PF PTS

A. Johnson 34 1-7 3-4 9 13 1 4 5

T. Danridge 34 10-17 2-2 3 5 1 1 24

J. Giddens 34 5-13 1-2 1 4 2 4 14

D. Prentice 30 1-5 2-2 0 2 6 4 5

C. Toppert 24 3-9 2-2 0 2 0 4 11

D Kanyinda 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

J Henfield 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0

R. Kersten 27 4-10 0-1 1 2 2 1 11

R Martinez 8 0-1 0-0 2 4 1 0 0

K. Walter 2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

D. Faris 4 0-1 0-0 0 1 0 2 0

TOTAL 200 24-64 10-13 16 33 13 21 70

First Second Total

New Mexico 28 42 70

CSU 22 44 66

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.