Aztecs get big lead early, lose it late to Colorado State

Senior+guard+Terrell+Gomez+looks+to+attempt+a+shot+against+Colorado+State+sophomore+forward+David+Roddy+during+the+Aztecs%27+70-67+loss+to+the+Rams+on+Jan.+2+at+Viejas+Arena.

Jason Freund

Senior guard Terrell Gomez looks to attempt a shot against Colorado State sophomore forward David Roddy during the Aztecs’ 70-67 loss to the Rams on Jan. 2 at Viejas Arena.

by Breven Honda, Senior Staff Writer

Usually when you have a lead for 38 of 40 minutes in a college basketball game, there’s a good chance you win. 

However, that was not the case for San Diego State men’s basketball, as it lost to Colorado State 70-67 on Jan. 2 at Viejas Arena.  

The Aztecs led by as much as 26 but as the game went on, the lead faltered and went in favor of the Rams.  

The 26-point turnaround was the largest comeback in a Mountain West Conference game.

The Rams (6-1, 3-0 MWC), who led for only 39 seconds in the game, drew a foul on a 3-point shot with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 67 and made a couple more free throws to seal the victory. 

SDSU head coach Brian Dutcher said although the Aztecs (6-2, 0-1 MWC) started strong in both halves, they did not do enough to make plays at the end of halves.  

“Credit to Colorado State for making the plays down the stretch, we did not.” Dutcher said. “We played magnificent in stretches, we didn’t play well enough for an entire game to deserve to win.” 

Here are two observations from today’s game.

1. Basketball is a game of runs 

SDSU started the game on a 25-4 run that lasted the game’s first 9:20. At that point, it seemed as if the Aztecs were going to cakewalk to victory.  

However, things did not go as planned for the Scarlet and Black, as the Rams outscored the Aztecs 29-15 to end the half. 

Senior forward Matt Mitchell, who had 14 points and seven rebounds, said the team might have got a little too laxed — especially on the defensive end. 

“I think maybe we lost focus,” Mitchell said. “I think that was one of our worst defensive games of the year. Being backdoor cut, just got out of position on defense. At times, we got stumped, but at the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done on the defensive end.”

In the second half following a transition 3-pointer by senior guard Jordan Schakel (who had 12 points), the Rams went on a 14-0 run that lasted almost four minutes. That brought the Rams’ deficit down to one with 13:54 left to play. 

During that time, SDSU missed all five of their shots and junior guard Adam Seiko was given a technical foul for arguing a call.      

Those missed shots opened the door for the Rams to comeback in the game

Dutcher said the team has to execute better and finish each situation.

“We have to make more plays,” Dutcher said. “You can’t give teams open looks, you can’t make mistakes and usually mistakes lead to runs.”

2. Aztecs find way offensively despite losing

Colorado State clogged the paint and it took away the Aztecs’ ability to get downhill.

As a result, SDSU had to find other ways to score. 

Dutcher said when the team found opportunities to make easy baskets, he hoped they finished a couple more times. 

“They pack the paint, they put a lot of people in front of you and so it’s a drive and kick game — it’s a throw to the post, go against a double team and kick it out to open three,” Dutcher said. “I wish we would have finished a little more around the basket when we got it there. We had a couple opportunities where we were right around the rim and it didn’t go in.”

By driving to the basket and then kicking the ball out for a long-distance shot, SDSU had to make the 3-pointers. The Aztecs responded by shooting 46.7% from 3-point range.

Dutcher said he liked what he saw from the team on the offensive end.  

“Our 3-point shooting was incredible,” Dutcher said. “14-of-30, that’s as good as you’re going to see anywhere in the country and we had 18 assists on 23 baskets. We played the right way and we shared the ball. I was happy with our shot selection for the most part.” 

The Rams had five players in double figures, led by sophomore forward David Roddy posting his third consecutive double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. 

The two teams will square off again on Monday at 6 p.m. to complete the season series at Viejas Arena.

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