As the clock faded to black on the men’s basketball team’s 67-52 loss to the Utah Utes Saturday, head coach Tim Miles sat on the bench with his legs crossed – contempt, disgust, and outright bewilderment splashed across his face.
It was the Rams eighth loss in a row, dropping their record to 0-7 in the conference, 6-15 overall. In the post-game press conference, a clearly agitated Miles lamented the performance of his players and the show the fans got.
“Would you come back?” Miles asked his players, telling them to put themselves in the place of the fans. “I wouldn’t. I want to see a team that executes and plays together, and I didn’t see one of those damn things out of us tonight. That’s a bunch of crap.”
The problem this time around was an abysmal first half in which the Rams shot just 26.1 percent from the field. They went into the break down 33-13, the lowest single half point total of the year for CSU.
“I was embarrassed,” Miles said of the effort.
The frozen shooting improved in the second half, bringing the end-game total to 40.8 percent, but the 20 point hole was too much to climb out of.
For as well as they shot the three in their last game against San Diego State (14-25), the Rams were lost beyond the arc Saturday night, managing a 3-18, 16.7 percent performance.
Coach Miles talked about the cold shooting, but was more upset by the lack of hustle on the boards.
“We missed 17 shots in the first half and had one offensive rebound,” Miles said. “You’re not going to win with that kind of effort.”
Overall, CSU picked up 23 rebounds to the Utes 31.
The one positive of the night came from mainstay Marcus Walker, who continued his conference-leading scoring barrage with 23 points (19 of which came in the second half). Walker has now scored at least 20 points in every conference game this season.
Freshman forward Flynn Clayman added eight points of his own and sophomore Ronnie Aguilar finished with seven rebounds.
For the Utes, guard Carlon Brown finished with a team-high 16 points. Seven-foot-one center Luke Nevill was contained for most of the night by double teams and solid defense from CSU’s Aguilar. Nevill finished with eight points and just five rebounds.
The Rams will look to rebound this week with tough road games against New Mexico (Tuesday) and league leader Nevada Las Vegas (Saturday). Coach Miles said that the team would be ready to go by game time.
“We got them right where we want them, I can’t wait,” Miles said.
Sportswriter Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.