The CSU Rams found out the hard way that itâ€™s hard to win when you have more turnovers than made baskets.
The Rams (12-9, 3-4 MWC) fell to the San Diego State Aztecs (15-6, 4-3 MWC) 64-52 in front of a Moby Arena crowd of 3,800 and committed 19 turnovers in the process. CSU went only 18-49 from the field in the loss.
After getting off to a sloppy and slow start, the Rams tightened the game up late in the first half, going into half time down 32-24.
Thatâ€™s as close as CSU would get though, as the Aztecs went on a 9-3 run to start the second half and cruised to victory from there.
Rams forward Travis Franklin explained that CSU couldnâ€™t execute to start the second half and it cost them.
â€œAt half, we preached to get out to a great start and into the mix the first five minutes,â€ the junior said. â€œWe failed to do that so they had a lot of momentum beginning the second half.â€
The Aztecs were aided in the win by Kawhi Leonard, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win. Leonard, a freshman, had a double-double in points and rebounds before the conclusion of the first half.
Forward Andy Ogide had 13 points and three rebounds for CSU in the loss. Franklin added 10 points and seven rebounds. Ogide and Franklin were the only Rams to reach double figures in scoring.
Head coach Tim Miles said that the 19 turnovers â€œare so disappointingâ€ and blamed them partly on the Rams lack of depth in the back court.
â€œI know we are short on guard play,â€ he said. â€œThis year there is nothing we are going to do, we are short on guards. There are nights we are going to lack outside shooting, but the ball handling part disturbs me. It just frustrates me so much.â€
SDSU established their dominance over the Rams from the get go, grabbing four offensive rebounds in the first two minutes of play. The trend would continue throughout the contest as the Aztecs out-rebounded the Rams 40-33 by gameâ€™s end.
Ogide said it was difficult to get back in the game after being physically outmatched to start.
â€œFor them to come out the first couple possessions and get four offensive rebounds was sort of demoralizing,â€ the junior said. â€œIt was tough to bounce back from that.â€
Miles gave credit to SDSU for being the better rebounding team and said thereâ€™s not much a team can do to change that.
â€œThey attack you inside, and they have long athletic guys that really make it a problem to rebound the ball,â€ Miles said. â€œThatâ€™s just a problem youâ€™re going to have against SDSU.â€
With the loss, the Rams have now dropped three of their last four conference games, including two of three at Moby Arena. Luckily for CSU, two of the next three games come against the conferenceâ€™s two worst teams.
CSU is set to head west for a showdown with the Utah Utes on Wednesday in Salt Lake City.
Ogide said the loss to SDSU is a tough one to swallow, and added a win really would have helped momentum heading into a road trip.
â€œWin a game like this and it gives us great momentum going into Utah and Wyoming and Air Force, teams we need to sweep,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s tough to let this one go, but we have to put it behind us and go get these next couple games.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.