Colorado State sends SDSU into OT, falling in the finish

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Collegian | Avery Coates

John Tonje (1), guard, shoots a three point shot Jan. 18. Colorado State played San Diego State ultimately losing in overtime 76-82.

Karsyn Lane, Sports Director

Returning from a thrilling overtime win against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, this past weekend, the Colorado State University men’s basketball team hosted San Diego State University tonight for a snow day white out. In an intense overtime battle, Colorado State fell short to San Diego in an 82-76 loss. 

Currently, Colorado State is ranked No. 9 in the Mountain West Conference with an overall 10-10 record, 2-5 conference record, compared to San Diego State at No. 2 with a 14-4 overall, 5-1 conference record so far this season.

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Despite the university closing due to the snowy conditions, nothing could stop Rams from making their way to Moby Arena. Nearly 30 minutes prior to the late-night tip-off, Moby’s student sections overflowed with a sea of white foam wavers and enthusiastic fans ready to deliver Moby Madness.

“Our students and our crowd were awesome tonight,” head coach Niko Medved said. “It was so great to have them back, and I think they gave this team a ton of energy. It’s just heartbreaking we couldn’t come through.”

“We can’t leave this one feeling down. We got a game in two, three days against our rival opponents. We know that we just have to move on, learn from it, watch the film, digest it and get better from it.” -Isaiah Rivera, sophomore guard

Kicking off tonight’s game in Colorado State fashion, John Tonje, Isaiah Stevens and Isaiah Rivera challenged the Aztecs’ defense, sinking three back-to-back 3-pointers. The Ram’s rapid offense established a strong lead early on in the match, forcing the Aztecs to add pressure right out of the gate.

As the intensity grew stronger, Colorado State’s lead became smaller with San Diego closing in 21-17 only ten minutes into the first half. The Aztecs took advantage of this opening and stole the lead 26-25. But then forward Patrick Cartier found himself sinking two from the free-throw line, stealing back the lead and igniting a wave of Moby Madness to close out the first half with the Rams ahead 34-28. 

The second half kicked off a lot slower than expected as both teams remained scoreless for the first three minutes. It wasn’t until sophomore guard Jalen Lake received an assist from Stevens and secured a 3-pointer from the corner that the score changed. Multiple times, Moby erupted with boos over the officiant’s calls, but this couldn’t stop CSU. 

The Aztecs couldn’t seem to score until five minutes into the match due to a foul call on Lake, allowing two scores from the free-throw line. Rivera didn’t hesitate to battle back, scoring a layup and pulling a foul, putting him on the line and securing 3 points. Despite their rough start, SDSU took back the lead with 11 minutes left by one point, 44-43. 

Battling to protect their court, Colorado State retaliated and tied the match 51-51 as they looked for a chance to steal the lead. With the help of Stevens, senior guard Joe Palmer found himself wide open at the 3-point line. Not only did Palmer’s passion and points hype up the crowd, but they pushed the Rams to 56-56 in the final five minutes. 

In the match’s final nail-biter moments, Colorado State looked to recover and defend Moby Arena. With less than a minute left on the clock and the Aztecs up 64-60, the Rams were looking for a miracle moment, and Lake pulled one off. Fifteen seconds left on the clock and down by 4 points, Lake secured a wide-open 3-pointer, leaving only 1 point between them and the lead.

 

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After a foul by Stevens and a free throw from SDSU, CSU was down 65-63 only seconds before the match ended. But with the help of Stevens’ buzzer-beater magic, the Rams managed to tie the match 65-65 and send it into overtime. Sadly, five minutes wasn’t enough time for the Rams to recover as they closed out with an 82-76 loss. 

“We can’t leave this one feeling down,” Rivera said, looking ahead. “We got a game in two, three days against our rival opponents. We know that we just have to move on, learn from it, watch the film, digest it and get better from it. “

Colorado State will hit the road this weekend to travel north for the first border war battle of the season against the University of Wyoming 2 p.m. Jan. 21.

Reach Karsyn Lane at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @karsynlane1