Larry Eustachy said his team would eventually buy into his philosophy that emphasizes defense and rebounding. For the first time this year, the Rams did.
They just forgot to add offense.
Minus leading scorer Gian Clavell, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his non-shooting hand, CSU’s offense fell flat against Kansas State in a 61-56 loss to the Wildcats at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita Saturday.
The Rams (6-5) couldn’t get it going against Kansas State in the first half, shooting just 30 percent from the field, but trailed by just four points, 29-25, heading into the halftime break. Filling in for Clavell, senior guard Antwan Scott and freshman Prentiss Nixon combined for 16 first-half points, but the Rams couldn’t get anyone else going in the first frame.
Things didn’t get any better in the second half for CSU’s offense though, as the Rams scored just five points through the first 10-plus minutes of the second half, and went scoreless from the field for nearly nine minutes midway through the half. In the meantime, Kansas State extended its lead to as many as 11 points, leading 43-32 with just over nine minutes to play.
CSU was able to cut the deficit to two with 4:16 to play on a 3-pointer by Nixon, but the Rams couldn’t get over the hump, losing for the fifth time in six games, with the lone win coming against Division II Arkansas-Fort Smith.
On the afternoon, CSU shot just 29 percent from the field, hitting just six of 22 3-pointers.
The Wildcats were led by the trio of Dean Wade, Wesley Iwundu and Justin Edwards, who combined to score 36 of the Wildcats’ 61 points.
Emmanuel Omogbo led the Rams with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Nixon tied his season-high with 11 points.
Next up for CSU is a home matchup against South Carolina-Upstate on Tuesday at Moby Arena.
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.