CSU embarrassed by Boise State in 87-54 throttling

Colin Barnard

The Colorado State men’s basketball team is in the midst of its worst season in nearly a decade. Three head coaches, a seven-game conference losing streak and injuries to the top two scorers made it seem impossible for things to get any worse.

On Wednesday night in Moby Arena, though, the discouraging season reached its lowest point in a 87-54 loss to Boise State.

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Herl with hands on hips
Colorado State Interim Head Coach Jase Herl looks out onto the court during the first half of action against the Boise State Broncos at Moby Arena on Feb. 21. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

CSU failed to mount any momentum on the offensive end as Mountain West Player of the Year Candidate Chandler Hutchison proved his legitimacy early and often, en route to a 27-point performance. Averaging 19.6 points per game on the season, Hutchison nearly topped that in the first 20 minutes with 18 points in the frame.

The Rams’ offensive woes were highlighted by an abysmal 28 percent shooting from the field, just 24 percent from 3-point range. In stark contrast, Boise State made 46 percent of its shots and outscored the Rams 34-18 in the paint. Following the game, junior guard J.D. Paige admitted it was the team’s worst performance of the season.

“We just didn’t bring it tonight, and there’s no excuse for that,” Paige said. “As a whole team, we didn’t bring enough energy. . . We’ve just got to show more heart, that’s what it comes down to. We didn’t show (any) heart, (any) competitiveness tonight. It’s just baffling.”

The Broncos set the tone early, embarking on separate 8-0 and 9-0 scoring runs within the opening 10 minutes of the half to take a commanding double-digit lead early.

At times a saving grace for CSU on the tumultuous season, rebounding woes proved detrimental for the Rams against the Broncos. From the get-go, BSU muscled its way into the paint on both sides of the ball.

CSU’s Nico Carvacho, the leading rebounder in the Mountain West averaging more than 10 rebounds per game, was held to two boards and zero points in the opening half. Meanwhile, the Broncos mounted a severe advantage on the boards that continued throughout the contest.

The Broncos outscored the Rams 24-10 in the paint, leading to a robust 56 percent shooting from the field. Behind Hutchison’s scoring, the Broncos took a 50-29 lead into the break.

Already down and out after the disheartening half, the Rams merely went through the motions in the second half as things went from bad to nearly unwatchable.

CSU endured a nearly nine-minute stretch in the half without a single point. In the same time, the Broncos put together a 20-0 run to rob the already lifeless Moby Arena of its last breath.

“It takes every guy individually, sitting down and talking to them to try and figure out (what went wrong),” interim head coach Jase Herl said. “We talked about controlling what we can control with our effort and energy and attitude, and I thought we could have done a lot better job of that tonight.”

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Moby Arena looks empty during the final minutes of a men’s basketball game against the Boise State Broncos on Feb. 21. Less than 25 percent of the seats are filled with fans scattered all over the arena. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Forward Deion James led the Rams on offense with 12 points and six rebounds. In his return from a broken hand that sidelined him for six games, Paige matched James with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Carvacho fell one rebound shy of his 13th consecutive double-digit rebound game.

A graduate of Longmont High School in Longmont, Colo., BSU guard Justinian Jessup also made his presence felt against the Rams, scoring 16 points, including four makes from 3-point range. 

“I think it’s hard when you’re losing. To be able to flip that attitude, it takes a very mature, professional type person,” Herl said. “At some point, we’ve got to put our foot in the ground. Things are going to happen in life it’s more so how we respond to them, not, ‘Why did it happen to me?'”

In their penultimate game of the season, the Rams will travel to Reno, Nev. to square off against the Nevada Wolfpack on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. In the team’s first meeting of the year, CSU dropped a hard-fought game, 76-67.

The league-leading Wolfpack will have an opportunity to clinch their second consecutive MW regular season title against the Rams.

The university is in its fourth week of a climate assessment of the men’s basketball program and Larry Eustachy.

Collegian sports director Colin Barnard can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.