Almost everyone who follows college basketball knows that winning at "The Pit" in New Mexico is a difficult task. In front of 15,225 Lobo fans, the Colorado State Rams dropped their first game of the year in blowout fashion. The New Mexico Lobos, who entered the game at 9-4, got a much needed conference win as they took down previously undefeated Colorado State 66-53.
The majority of the first half was a back and forth battle in which neither team held a lead larger than five points. With under three minutes left in the first half, New Mexico guard Tim Jacobs scored a layup that kick started a 10-1 run to end the first half with a nine point lead at 35-26. That run was capped off with a Devon Williams three point shot as time expired.
Colorado State started the second half with a quick 5-0 run, but New Mexico responded by scoring four straight points to bring the score back to a nine point lead with just under 14 minutes left. The Rams were able to close to within four points in the second half, but poor shooting and ball control ended many Colorado State possessions.
New Mexico's freshman guard Sam Logwood was too much for Colorado State to keep up with, scoring 15 points on a 5-5 shooting performance, including his only three point attempt that gave the Lobos a 12 point lead and kick-started a 10-2 run that gave New Mexico a 55-37 lead with nine minutes left in the game.
The New Mexico defense smothered the Colorado State offense, who struggled to score in the paint. Colorado State big man J.J. Avila, who leads the Rams in scoring with 14.4 points per game, couldn't find any clean looks near the basket. The length of Obig Aget kept the Rams out of the paint a majority of the night, forcing Colorado State to shoot a lot of pull up jumpers and three pointers. The three point shot failed the Rams in each half. They shot 3-13 in the first half from long range and 3-12 in the second half, good for 24 percent from beyond the arc.
After being down by as many as 18 points, Colorado State managed to go on an 11-3 run to cut the lead back down to ten points when Avila made a layup with just over two minutes left on the game clock. Down 63-53, the Rams needed a defensive stop in order to give themselves a chance. New Mexico essentially put the game out of reach when Jacobs made a three point shot after appearing to travel with the ball. Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy was clearly upset with the officials when they didn't call Jacobs for the walk, but replay showed that it was a good no call by the officials. The game ended at 66-53 after both teams failed to score in the last 90 seconds of the game.
New Mexico's Logwood led all scorers with 15 points, but the Lobos had offensive contributions from 10 different players. Guard Hugh Greenwood only score four points, but led the Lobos with eight rebounds and six assists for a very solid all-around performance. Devon Williams was the only other Lobo is double figures with 13 points.
Colorado State was led in scoring by Daniel Bejarano with 13 points on 4-13 shooting. Bejarano had a double-double with 11 rebounds. Guard John Gillon had 10 points and five assists. No other Rams reached double figures, as Avila shot just 3-10 on the night for six points and Stanton Kidd left early with what appears to be a right leg injury.
With the win, New Mexico moves to 10-4 on the year, and 2-0 in conference play. The Lobo's continue a difficult start to conference play with a visit to Viejas Arena to take on the 11-3 San Diego State Aztecs. The contest between the Lobos and Aztecs is on Tuesday, January 6th at 9:00 p.m. PT. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Colorado State falls to 14-1 to end the best winning streak in school history. The Rams return to Fort Collins with their turn to host the Border War against Wyoming on Wednesday, January 7th. The Cowboys are 12-2 on the year and will prove to be a difficult matchup for the Rams, who will have to commit to stopping Larry Nance Jr. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. MT and can be seen online on the MW Sports Network.