Instant Reaction: Rams get dominated on the glass in an underwhelming loss to the Lobos

With a chance to pick up an important road win, Colorado State men’s basketball (13-16, 7-9) came out extremely flat against New Mexico at the Pit. UNM handily defeated CSU, 77-65, snapping the Rams’ three-game winning streak over the Lobos and putting an end to CSU’s recent conference winning streak as well.

“This one was pretty easy to digest, they played with more energy than us,” head coach Niko Medved told Brian Roth on the 102.9 postgame show.

Between a general lack of depth, inability to slow down the Lobos on the glass and a poor shooting performance from beyond the arc, there were many reasons why the Rams struggled in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday night.

Both Anthony Masinton-Bonner (achilles) and Hyron Edwards (concussion) missed the game with injuries, which limited Medved’s rotation from the start. As a result, the first-year CSU head coach had to play four different starters over 35 minutes in the game. The Rams also had to rely on Robbie Berwick much more than usual, and while the senior was able to play 18 minutes, the Rams missed the presence of Masinton-Bonner and Edwards on both ends of the floor.

Down a pair of guards, the Rams desperately needed strong showings from J.D. Paige and Kendle Moore. The duo combined for 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting, but most of the production came late in the second half. In comparison, Makuach Maluach finished with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting by himself for UNM.

While the guard play was nothing special, the biggest problem for CSU on the offensive end was a general lack of aggressiveness. For much of the game, CSU played extremely passive and instead of looking to get to the rim and create high percentage scoring opportunities, the Rams settled for jump shots or sloppily turned the basketball over.

Things did improve down the stretch as CSU only recorded four turnovers in the second half, after recording six in the first. The shooting woes from 3-point range were consistent though, and more importantly when the Rams missed, the Lobos were there to pick up the rebound. UNM held a 22-rebound advantage in the game and absolutely owned the glass on both ends of the floor. With 17 offensive rebounds, the Lobos almost matched the Rams’ defensive total of 21 in the game.

“They absolutely destroyed us on the glass. I thought they got every 50-50 ball,” Medved said.

There were not a lot of bright spots for CSU to pinpoint on Saturday night, but Nico Carvacho did record his 20th double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Unfortunately for the Rams, the rest of the team only combined for six boards

After dropping Saturday night’s game to the Lobos, the Rams have an extremely tough game against Utah State at home on Tuesday night. The Aggies will be playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament and looking to sweep the season series.

“I think this time of the year, every game gets bigger and bigger,” Medved said. “If you want to have success, you have to play with incredible edge and do all the little things right…. I think we’ll respond and play better on Tuesday.”