The road woes continued last night for the CSU men’s basketball team as they fell 50-68 to New Mexico (13-8, 4-2 MWC) at University Arena. The loss marked the 17th consecutive for the Rams against Mountain West Conference teams on the road.
Despite being down only five points at halftime, the Rams (7-14, 2-5 MWC) were never able to make a surge in the second half as the Lobos came out of the locker room with a 9-2 run. And just as the cliché says, the first five minutes of the second half are the most important, and those minutes were won by New Mexico.
“That’s what we do every halftime is talk about what are we going to do the first five minutes of the second half to send a message,” said CSU head coach Tim Miles from Albuquerque. “The best thing we can do is square them up, out score them . we came out and turned it over three straight possessions with not very ball-tough plays. ”
For the game, CSU shot 45 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, both of which were better than the Lobos’ offensive performance. But the Rams suffered with 20 turnovers and were out-rebounded on the offensive glass, 10-2.
After the game, New Mexico head coach Steve Alford chimed in on his team’s performance on defense.
“I thought tonight we started to mature and we started guarding and I thought we played defense really well for 40 minutes,” said Alford.
Once again the Rams were led by their youngest player, freshman Jesse Carr, who finished the night with a team-high 15 points and four assists. In the past three games combined, Carr has averaged over 18 points per contest.
“Jesse is a heck of a player, he’s a guy Ram fans are going to love for the next three seasons after this one,” said Miles. “He’s going to have a great career, he plays with tremendous poise, he’s got a lot of talent and ability and he’s a guy who really looks like a leader out there for us.”
CSU was without guards Marcus Walker and Harvey Perry for the third consecutive game due to being academically ineligible. Miles says he still does not know if and when the two will be back.
Men’s basketball beat writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.