SDSU tops CSU men’s basketball with 79-57 loss

Bailey Bassett

Fresh off a blowout victory over Utah Valley, the Colorado State men’s basketball program took on the Mountain West Conference’s hottest team, the San Diego State Aztecs. The Aztecs (9-0) were undefeated heading into Wednesday night’s conference opening matchup and continued that hot streak by beating the Rams 79-57.

Though the Rams fell by 22 points, the box score doesn’t tell the entire story. CSU had the game within reach for the majority of the contest, but a 19-2 SDSU run for the last seven minutes of the game did the Rams in.

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“We made some defensive breakdowns that led to them getting those 19 points,” Nico Carvacho said. “And we just didn’t execute on offense.”

Even though for most of the game it was a one- or two-possession game, CSU allowed way too many big runs. Malachi Flynn had a great night for SDSU. He finished with 23 points and seven assists while shooting 3-6 from deep.

The defense is the biggest reason CSU lost this contest. The Rams’ defense was sub-par in comparison to usual, and SDSU was able to hold the Rams’ offense to an average game. Any time a CSU starter got hot, the SDSU defense was able to contain that player and limit them for the next few possessions.

Even with the loss to SDSU being by a decent margin, there were some positives to take out of the game. Nico Carvacho had a solid game and got another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

It appeared the Rams have been working hard on post-work in recent practices. Carvacho had numerous nice finishes in the paint. He showed off a nice up-and-under move on multiple occasions and also utilized a nice skyhook. Dischon Thomas, Carvacho’s backup, also picked up what Carvacho did on the court when he subbed out. In limited action, he displayed solid footwork and a skyhook of his own.

Carvacho did more than just score. He was super aggressive and drew fouls. He attempted 12 free throws, and while he only made six of those, he was able to demand double teams and put his opponents in foul trouble. Carvacho also had arguably the pass of the year on a feed to Hyron Edwards. Off a bounce pass to the cutting Edwards, Carvacho was able to thread the needle in between multiple Aztec defenders for an easy Edwards layup.

Kendle Moore also had a solid game, proving why, even as a sophomore, he is one of the leaders of this team. He plays such a scrappy style of play that is contagious for his teammates. He did it all last night, including multiple impressive transition finishes. He is not the biggest player, but he plays with a grit and grind mentality that allows him to compete with anybody.

CSU’s loss dropped their record to 6-4, but they have a chance for redemption against Boise State in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday. The matchup should be a fun one, as the Broncos have a 4-3 record and just suffered a devastating two-point loss to New Mexico in an offensive showdown.

“Basketball is a game of runs, and that is what San Diego State did today,” Moore said. “They came out and hit a couple of shots, and we just have to bounce back.”

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Bailey Bassett can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @baileybassett_.