It’s been a season where nothing seems to go Colorado State’s way.
Less than 20 seconds after Marcus Walker bombed home a deep 3-pointer over two Aztec defenders giving the Rams an 82-80 lead, San Diego State’s (16-6, 5-2 in the MWC) Lorrenzo Wade pulled up on the other end and answered with a three of his own, the final points scored in an entertaining 83-82 Aztec victory.
It was due to good defense from the Rams (6-14, 0-6 in the MWC) that Wade was in position to become the hero. The play called for Wade to go inside to the paint where SDSU had done much of their damage and try to get the tie, but CSU freshman Andre McFarland forced him to the perimeter.
There, the 6’6” Wade saw he was isolated on the Rams seven-foot center Ronnie Aguilar, and decided he had to go for the win.
“When I saw Aguilar, I knew I had to put it up. That’s what you dream of as a child, making a shot like that,” Wade said.
Wade’s shot came with 21 seconds remaining, and the Aztecs then forced Walker, the MWC’s leading scorer, to pass with good defense of their own. Willis Gardner’s runner from just outside the lane with 3 seconds left came up empty, and the Rams were unable to foul before time expired.
“It was a good shot at the end, it just didn’t go in,” said Walker of Gardner’s effort.
It was another in a string of tough losses for the Rams, who have now lost seven straight games, many of them coming right down to the wire.
Head coach Tim Miles choked up when he tried to explain how hard his team was battling and how important a win would be to his team, but he also found an analogy to describe how close they were to success.
“I told (the team) that this was like one of those old western movies were a gold miner has a rock and a pick axe and he just hammering it; you never know when it is going to break,” Miles said.
“Every game it is the same thing. We are in every game, we just can’t close,” added Walker.
Wade’s big shot wiped out another great performance by Walker, who continued his scoring barrage in conference play with 26 points.
Unlike many games this season, Walker had support, provided by two freshmen from California, as Jesse Woodard scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half and Flynn Clayman poured in all 12 of his points in the second half. After struggling from long-range much of the season, the Rams hit 14-25 3-point field goals from the field compared to the Aztecs 4-16, but they couldn’t overcome SDSU 46-14 advantage in the paint.
San Diego had three forwards record double-doubles, as Ryan Amoroso led with 23 points and 11 rebounds, along with Wade (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Billy White (17 points, 10 boards).
Sports reporter Matthew Pucak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.