Jan 242010
 
Authors: Stephen Meyers

After starting conference play 2-0, the CSU men’s basketball team has dropped three straight, falling to sixth in the Mountain West Conference.

The team still insists it has confidence, however.

“We just got to turn that corner. We just have to show it,” said freshman forward Greg Smith after Saturday’s 82-64 loss at New Mexico. “We can play with these top teams in the conference.”

The Rams (11-8, 2-3 MWC) played with the Lobos (18-3, 4-2) for the first 14 minutes of the game Saturday, before everything unraveled.

New Mexico closed the half on 14-2 run while the Rams went 0-6 from the field in the final six minutes.

The lead swelled to as many as 22 points for the Lobos, and the Rams crept to within 15 with seven minutes left to play, but it was too little too late.

The loss at New Mexico marks the second time in three games the Rams have lost by as many as 18 points. CSU lost to BYU by 44 on Jan. 16.

Head coach Tim Miles, however, was pleased with the team’s effort Saturday against New Mexico.

“I thought we ended the game pretty well,” Miles said. “Our body language was pretty good; people were playing hard and still believed we were in it. That was not the case against BYU.”

The Rams will welcome a trip back home to Moby as they face TCU (10-10, 2-3) on Wednesday in a critical match-up to end the three-game slide.

If they are to turn their MWC season around, the Rams can thank their three active freshmen. Point guard Dorian Green, forward Pierce Hornung and Smith are arguably the team’s three most important players right now.

Smith and Green lead the Rams Saturday with 13 points each and Hornung, although he was plagued by foul trouble Saturday, is a hound on the glass and has a nose for loose balls.

“Greg Smith and Dorian Green and Pierce Hornung are all effective players. We are a much better team with them on the court, so we need to keep them aggressive and keep relying on them,” Miles said.
Miles has confidence in his team to rise in the MWC, but he wants to see that confidence from every one of his players.

“Confidence is a tricky thing because it’s earned. You can talk about it all you want, but until we go out and play well and do some things right on the basketball court, we won’t have it,” Miles said. “We need to return home and play well against TCU.”

Men’s Basketball beat reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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