Aztecs fall short on the road, lose 79-71 at Colorado State

Credit: Colorado State

Credit: Colorado State

The San Diego State Aztecs once again fell short on the road. The Colorado State Rams responded from a bad loss against Wyoming and played very well in the win against SDSU: San Diego State now losses their fifth game, all on the road.

The Aztecs fall to 16-5 on the year and (5-3) in the Mountain West. CSU improves to 16-5 and (4-4) in the conference.

The sport of basketball is consisted of a game of runs. That was the story of this contest. Whether it was the Rams or Aztecs, it seemed the only buckets in this game were coming off huge runs by each side. CSU ended the game, making eight of their final ten shots.

Credit: Colorado State

The start of this battle could go down as one of the worst in the Brian Dutcher era, as the Rams stormed out to a quick 17-4 lead in the first six and a half minutes. The Aztecs looked completely lost out there while Colorado State was firing on all cylinders.

Nique Clifford was all over the place to begin the contest. He did it all. The Colorado native was nailing shots, assists on buckets, leading the team in rebounds, and even had three steals in the first half. His effort proved to be key for the Rams and their early success can be directed back to him.

Because of the slow start, Dutcher proceeded to call a timeout. That timeout was game-changing for the Aztecs.

SDSU stormed back thanks to a 10-0 run and cut CSU’s 14-point lead to just four with less than eight minutes to go in the first half. Reese Waters nailed in two triples and was a huge part of the offense. Miles Byrd came in and scored a quick seven points as well, and it seemed as if the Aztecs would keep this game close.

However, the Rams responded again. They went on a 7-0 run themselves to put them back up 12 points. Dutcher called his second timeout of the game, hoping that it would calm his team down.

SDSU needed to remain consistent on offense. They had eight turnovers at the break.

Waters scored his 12th point right before the half to continue his hot start. If the Aztecs were going to come back, then Waters needed to be a major part of it.

CSU led 37-29 at the break.

Isaiah Stevens and Clifford combined to score 24 of the 37 first-half points for the Rams. The duo shot 10-14 from the floor (4-6 from three), and the Aztecs failed to contain them in the first 20 minutes. SDSU hoped that would change.

San Diego State started out the second half with yet another turnover, leading to a bucket. The Aztecs just couldn’t keep possession when it mattered.

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The first eight minutes of the second half remained a close battle. A back-and-forth action kept the Aztecs in the game down just 10 points, but the Rams tried their best not to let them come back. SDSU brought the score back down to three points just to see the Rams regain their control.

CSU led 55-45 with 12 minutes remaining in the game.

The Aztecs responded in a major way by finding their rhythm and taking their first lead of the game, 61-60. A 16-5 run by the Aztecs turned this into a close battle that was heading down to the wire.

Lamont Butler found his groove and helped propel his team back. He reached 16 points on 6-11 shooting with just under seven minutes to go. The Aztecs’ starting backcourt was feeling it at the right time.

It’s only fitting that this game turned upside once again thanks to another CSU run. That would be the game’s final run, and the Rams put an exclamation point on this contest and won the game by eight points. Stevens and Clifford combined for 40 points.

News & Stats

  • Waters finished with 17 points on 7-9 shooting (3-3 from deep). He also ended with four rebounds
  • Butler ended with 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals
  • Clifford ended with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and four steals
  • Stevens finished with 20 points, six assists, and three steals
  • SDSU only led for a total of 16 seconds in this game
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