ByDan HayesAssistant Sports Editor
It was only a matter of minutes. Six minutes and 27 seconds to beexact, but that was all it took for Colorado State to put the SanDiego State men’s basketball team away Monday night.
The Rams hit 8 of their first 11 shots from the floor as theystunned a struggling SDSU with a 19-4 run to open the game. From thatpoint it was smooth sailing for CSU as it rolled past the Aztecs atMoby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. 77-56.
“They buried us early and followed it up,” Fisher said. “Weweren’t in this game and we never could claw our way back into it.”
Things appeared to start well for SDSU, as right off the batforward Myron Epps made it 2-0 with a lay-up. But it was all downhillfrom there.
First, it was a three-point basket from guard John Sivesind (17points). Then the Rams got layups from Ron Grady, David Fisher (11points) and Andy Burley, and before they knew it, the Aztecs weretrailing 9-2.
The lead was then cut to five after Randy Holcomb (11 points, 5rebounds) hit a pull-up jumper from 10 feet, but that was as close asSDSU would get the rest of the game. After Holcomb’s basket, Burleyretaliated with back-to-back three-pointers while Sivesind andGarrett Patik (15 points) added baskets of their own to open up a15-point lead.
Meanwhile, the struggling Aztec offense, which finished shooting37 percent from the field, made just two of its first 12 shots.
“It’s frustrating,” said point guard Deandre Moore, who finishedwith seven assists and no turnovers. “You come in with a game plan ofattack and the shots don’t fall, and they have everything go theirway. We didn’t make plays tonight.”
The punishment continued as Matt Brown made a basket and wasfouled with 11:12 remaining in the half. After Brown completed thethree-point play, the Rams were up 26-7. The absurdity grew even morewhen Patik connected on a three-pointer, CSU’s fifth triple of thegame, to make it 39-18 just before the half.
Trailing by 20 midway through the second half, SDSU attempted tomake a little noise of its own. Guard Karlo Kovacic (9 points) struckfrom three-point range followed by a pair of free throws from MarceloCorrea (10 points). After Kovacic hit another trey, one of threethree-pointers of the night, the Aztecs had the lead down to 55-43with 11:09 remaining.
“We didn’t find much of a rhythm tonight,” Moore said. “Duringthat stretch we attacked the basket hard and went hard on the glass.”
Sensing a possible comeback, Sivesind ignited an 8-2 CSU runsparked with a three-point basket. The Rams, who hit 8-of-16three-pointers of the night, also had a healthy rebounding advantageled by Grady, who had 10 rebounds to go along with his 16-pointeffort.
All tolled, CSU outrebounded the Aztecs 43-24. Over its last twogames, SDSU’s opponents have outrebounded them at an alarming 96-50rate.
“They went to the glass hard on both ends and we didn’t,” Mooreadded.
Finally, the Aztecs will get to return to the sweet confines ofCox Arena (10-2 at home) Saturday after a three-week hiatus. But theroad will get no easier as the Rick Majerus-less Utah Utes come totown for yet another Mountain West Conference test.
“We have lost the belief that we are good enough to win,” Fishersaid. “I have to install that. We have to regroup and rekindle.”