By Lindsey Boyd (@lindsboyd3 ):
San Jose State men’s basketball couldn’t break the Colorado State curse Saturday afternoon, as it fell 59-52, marking an all-time 0-16 record against the Rams.
The Spartans’ (3-10, 0-2 MW) 23 turnovers was the difference as they let CSU (8-7, 1-1 MW) outscore them 39-21 in the second half.
“We just turned the ball over way too many times and that’s what cost us the game,” said junior forward Ryan Welage who totaled four.
Welage, who averaged 18.3 ppg coming in, had only dropped 25 career points in five games against Colorado State, by far the worst game-average (five points) among conference opponents.
That average will increase however, as Welage got to five in the first six minutes of the game and finished with 16.
The Spartans did win the glass game, however, as they pulled down eight more rebounds than the Rams (37-29).
“When you are defending like how we are defending and your rebounding the way we are rebounding it’s going to turn around,” said head coach Jean Prioleau said of the loss.
In the first half, it was all defense for SJSU, as they held the Rams to 6-27 shooting (22.2 percent) and 1-11 from behind the arch. For the last 9:37 of the first half, the only five points SJSU allowed came from from Colorado State’s free throw line.
Redshirt freshman forward Keith Fisher was doing work on the boards, collecting 10 rebounds.
Freshman Noah Baumann lit the first half on fire with 11 points — hitting 3/3 from long range. He started the second half with another three right out of the gate to put the Spartans up 14.
The lead wasn’t long lived as the Rams crammed out a 7-0 run. Junior guard Prentiss Nixon led the floor with 19 points to jam the game within seven points by the 12-minute mark.
In response, SJSU grinded out the lead back to 10 points, but the Rams went on a 14-3 run — 9 of which came from downtown to take the lead 49-48 with 5 minutes remaining.
In the final five minutes, SJSU gave it away five times, something that has plagued the offense late in games recently.
In the end CSU managed to pull through, and to Prioleau, its a matter of finding what works to help close out games.
“We just didn’t have another gear to finish it off and go on another run,” Prioleau said.