FORT COLLINS, Colo. Colorado State went cold from the floor in two different spans that were costly in an 88-68 loss to visiting New Mexico State Sunday afternoon in Moby Arena. With the loss, the Rams fell to 5-8 on the year, while the Aggies improved to 11-3.
The opening half went back and forth early on as CSU put together a 16-6 spurt and eventually led 20-13 with 13:32 remaining in the first half. From there, New Mexico State went on a 22-2 run over the next 4:25 to take control of the game at 35-22, eventually going into the locker room with a 39-26 lead at the break.
The Rams cut into the lead with a 7-2 run to start the final 20 minutes and closed it to eight on three separate occasions in the second half. With 11:08 to play and leading by eight, the Aggies went on 14-4 run over the next four minutes, as the Rams again couldn't get a basket, to build an 18-point gap they would never relinquish.
NM State took 23 more shots than the Rams from the floor, thanks to a 37-26 advantage on the boards and connected on 51.5 percent (35-of-68) of its shots for the game. CSU was still solid at 46.7 percent (21-of-45) and was 20-of-27 at the free throw line, but the discrepancy in shots made and threes (13 for NMSU to six for CSU) was too much to overcome.
Redshirt-senior J.D. Paige and freshman Adam Thistlewood led CSU with 17 points each, as Thistlewood tied his career high at CSU. Redshirt-junior Anthony Masinton-Bonner added 15, with redshirt-junior Nico Carvacho chipping in 10 points and nine rebounds. CJ Bobbitt recorded a career-high 22 points to lead the Aggies.
STAT OF THE GAME
CSU didn't make a field goal in the last 10:14 of the first half, missing 11 consecutive shots from the floor as NM State was able to build its 13-point halftime lead.
IN THEIR WORDS
Head Coach Niko Medved
His overall feeling on the game
That's a really good basketball team (NMSU) that we played today and I think they're a NCAA Tournament team. Clearly we got off to a nice start today. I thought our kids were ready to play, but then, boy, it got away from us. It's not too hard as you look at it that they got 23 more shots at the basket than us. It's pretty hard to survive that. Every time you make a mistake against a good team, they make you pay and they did. We just have to find a way to be better for longer periods of time and we're starting to do some things in stretches that I like.
• The Rams now lead the overall series, 5-3, including now 4-1 at Moby Arena.
• CSU is now 16-9 against current members of the Western Athletic Conference.
• New Mexico State outscored CSU 42-24 in the paint and 20-7 on second-chance points
• Carvacho's nine rebounds moved him into seventh on the CSU all-time rebounding list at 697, passing Daniel Bejarano (694 from 2011-15)
• Paige is now at 915 career points at CSU.
• The Rams will open Mountain West Conference play on the road, traveling to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on Wed., Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT.