When the Rams walked off the court in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday night, they did so with a battered lineup and 28 fouls.
“I’m not going to comment on the officiating,” head coach Larry Eustachy said.
Even though the crowd at Don Haskins Center was sparse on Tuesday night, it didn’t take long for the officiating to quickly get the Rams out of their rhythm.
Eustachy had been ejected early in the second half and two of CSU’s big men, Marcus Holt and Gerson Santo, fouled out. Additionally, one of the leading scorers of the night, guard Daniel Bejarano, walked off the court with a questionable leg injury.
In their 82-74 road loss, the Rams struggled against fouls throughout the entirety of the night. Six of their players walked off the court with at least three fouls and a total of three players, both for the Rams and the Miners, sat on the bench for being over the foul limit.
In all, there were 54 fouls called on both ends, a direct effect of new NCAA rules that drastically limit the amount of physical contact players can have on both the offensive and defensive end. With this being the Rams’ second road game of the season, it stood as somewhat of a test to see how well this lineup would fare in an unfamiliar environment.
“We have less than zero margin for error,” Eustachy said. “We have to get more play out of everybody to beat a team like this.”
Even though Eustachy, Holt and Santo left the game early in the evening, the Rams didn’t allow this to deter their motivation. Bejarano and J.J. Avila managed to sink a total of 19 points in addition to Joe De Ciman and Jon Octeus’ 10 points each.
The matchup ended as a close loss for the Rams in their fourth game of the regular season. However, the question on many people’s minds isn’t necessarily about the loss but about the injury to one of their star players.
Nothing has been confirmed in Bejarano’s injury. He hit the ground hard at the baseline with less than a minute left in the game. Even though he attempted to return to the court in order to get a last minute shot off, he remained on the sideline.
“In the end, the tougher team won,” Eustachy said.
Collegian Reporter Hannah Cornish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.