Colorado State simply ran out of gas Sunday afternoon.
The Rams, who have now lost five in a row in the road, were able to tie the game with 0.4 seconds left in regulation on a pair of free throws by senior Joe De Ciman, but couldn’t hang with the Nevada Wolf Pack in the extra period, falling 87-80 at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
CSU held a five-point lead with just under two minutes to go in regulation, but Nevada’s Tyron Criswell and DJ Fenner hit seven of eight free throws in the final 1:06, taking a 69-67 lead with four seconds to go. On the ensuing inbounds play, De Ciman was inexplicably fouled by the Wolf Pack’s Eric Cooper Jr. just as he crossed the half-court line. De Ciman buried both free throws to tie the game, and Lindsey Drew’s last-ditch, full-court heave hit the top of the shot clock, sending CSU into its fourth overtime game of the season.
Nevada took over from the opening tip of overtime though, quickly extending its lead to as many as seven points halfway through the overtime period. The Wolf Pack would stretch its lead to double-digits in the final minute, but consecutive layups by John Gillon brought CSU within six with 30 seconds to go. Two more Wolf Pack free throws made it a three-possession game, and the Rams would get no closer than seven as they fell to 15-14 overall and 7-9 in Mountain West play, dropping them to seventh place with two games to go.
CSU shot just 35 percent from the field, 29 percent from the 3-point line and hit just 21 of its 35 free throws, wasting a 30-point, nine-rebound performance from senior guard Antwan Scott. John Gillon added 18 points but shot just 1-for-6 from the 3-point line and missed three key free throws after coming into the game as one of the best free throw shooters in the country. In the overtime period alone, CSU missed seven of its 12 free throws, equaling the margin in which it lost the game by.
Junior forward Emmanuel Omogbo also notched his fourth double-double in five games with 10 points and 15 rebounds, but the Rams couldn’t slow the trio of Criswell and Fenner and Cameron Oliver, who combined for 63 points and hit 19 of 25 from the free throw line, including their clutch shots in the final minute.
CSU will travel home before returning to the road to face second-place Fresno State Wednesday night at the Save-Mart Center in Fresno. Following the game at Fresno State, CSU will host its Senior Day festivities next Saturday when it hosts in-state rival Air Force in the regular season finale for both teams.
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.