Concluding a three-game road trip that took the Colorado State men’s basketball team to Jamaica and New Mexico, the Rams lost to New Mexico State 89-76 Wednesday evening.
NMSU (3-1) scored on its first possession of the game and never trailed throughout the game. Though the Rams (2-3) pulled even near the midway point of the first half, guard Zach Lofton proved too much for the Rams to handle as he finished the first half with 15 points while shooting an efficient 6-of-9 from the field.
Head coach Larry Eustachy showed his willingness to mix and match different lineups as 10 different Rams received playing time throughout the opening 20 minutes. Freshman Logan Ryan, who only played four minutes in the team’s first four games, played 11 minutes in the opening frame.
Despite experimenting with different lineups as the Rams adjusted to a long trip from Montego Bay, Jamaica to Las Cruces, N.M., CSU entered the break trailing by seven.
The second half was no different as the Aggies opened the scoring and maintained the lead throughout the period. After Che Bob fought through contact on a layup to cut the deficit back to single digits, the Aggies put together a 9-0 run capped by a 3-point and-one from Lofton.
Lofton led all scorers Wednesday night with 30 points. More impressively, he made 12-of-15 shots from the field and failed to miss a single shot from inside the 3-point line. He also led the Aggies with eight rebounds. NMSU forward Eli Chuha pounded the Rams down low all evening long, finishing with 24 points on an equally impressive 8-of-11 shooting.
Che Bob lifted the Rams offensively, scoring 21 points and securing 10 rebounds before fouling out after just 17 minutes of action. While Prentiss Nixon (14 points) and J.D. Paige (10 points) joined Bob in double digits, they shot a combined 7-of-24.
Though CSU shot a respectable 43 percent from the floor, NMSU was even better shooting a robust 59 percent on the evening. The Aggies also bruised the Rams in paint, outscoring them 40-28 down low.
After starting the season with two consecutive victories, the Rams have now lost three games in a row. CSU will attempt to halt the skid on Friday against Northwestern State in the final game of the Jamaica Classic. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Moby Arena.
Collegian sports editor Colin Barnard can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.