Rams lose heartbreaker to Loyola Marymount at home

Justin Michael

Fort Collins- Two days removed from the Rams biggest loss of the season (Kansas State 89-70), the Colorado State men’s basketball team lost in heartbreaking fashion to Loyola Marymount University (69-66) Monday night.

“We blew a wonderful opportunity,” head coach Larry Eustachy said following the loss. “I talked about it on my pregame show, our lack of experience and their experience. In spite of telling them repeatedly that if you let hang them around, they are going to beat you in the end. So am I frustrated? Yes. Are the players frustrated? Yes. They had an opportunity to win a big game. That’s a good team and we did not get it done.”

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After starting the game 1-5 from the field and scoring just 27 points in the first half, the lowest total for any single half at Moby this year, The Ram offense came out of the break hot, hitting four of their first five attempts, while nearly shooting 75 percent from the field in the first ten minutes of the second half.

Unfortunately for Eustachy’s Rams, the offense seemed to disappear just as quickly as it came alive and after leading for the majority of the second half, Colorado State would not make a field goal in the final 6:27 of the game. Their opponent would close the contest 7-8 from the field and with .9 seconds remaining, senior guard Brandon Brown put the final nail in the coffin with a game-winning three.

“That was not game,” Eustachy said. “The game was when were up 7 and just got casual. Those guys were not going to let you get away with that. Against anybody else that could have happened. I mean these guys are assassins…There’s only ten teams older than them in the country, so you are picking your poison if you do that.”

The Rams have been an inconsistent shooting team all year and tonight their inability to find a consistent offense cost them the game. When CSU is able to move the ball around and hit open jump shots like they did early in the second half, the team was able to get a rhythm going and looked like they were going to come away with a victory. Their problem was that once the jump shots stopped falling, instead of getting the ball in the post and creating opportunities for their teammates, guys were trying to play “hero ball” and started to press the issue.

“I thought everyone had their own agenda,” Prentiss Nixon said. “For the last 10 minutes on, everyone had their own agenda and it showed. Everyone was trying to make one-on-one plays to the rim and trying to create for themselves. We got the lead by creating for each other, so we got away from our way of playing and turned the ball over. Putting those things together doesn’t result in anything good. Ever.”

After another game with double-digit turnovers (14), the Rams will look to improve their offensive efficiency against Long Beach State Thursday night.

Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.