Rams exact Revenge, beat Aztecs 58-57

San Diego State Aztecs forward Keshad Johnson (0) goes to the basket while defended by Colorado State Rams guard David Roddy (21) during the first half at Viejas Arena.

Rams exact Revenge, beat Aztecs 58-57

Boise State

Rams exact Revenge, beat Aztecs 58-57

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Friday night started off with an exciting game. Well sort of. As much as a game where neither team scores 60 points can be exciting.

The Rams were coming off of a 2 game losing streak and came out motivated to win. They came out playing excellent defense, forcing San Diego State into five turnovers in the first five minutes. Despite the rogh and physical play, the Rams could not quite pull away in the first half. They led 23-18 after the first half. A total snoozefest for any neutral observer.

The Rams came out hot to start the second half, wanting to sap the Aztecs’ spirits and end the game early. It coincided with an all too familiar occurance for Aztecs fans, where the Aztecs scored only 9 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

With ten minutes left, the Aztecs were down 20. Colorado St. had a 98.4% chance of winning. I’m sure someone was giving the order to warm up the busses.

Then Matt Bradley happened. He started hitting shots at a ridiculous rate, and the Aztec’s defense locked in. The Aztecs went on a 30-9 run over the last ten minutes. After scoring 45 points all game they started pressing full court and scored 13 points in the last two minutes. The run was capped off by a dagger three from Lamont Butler to take the lead with 14 seconds left.

The Rams, feeling the pressure of a sure thing about to slip away, ran down the floor. Isaiah Stevens lost control of the ball, but the basketball gods smiled on the Rams, and guided the ball right into the hands of MW POY favorite David Roddy, who hit a shot from the elbow to take the lead.

There were still 6.8 seconds left though. Brian Dutcher tried callign for a timeout, but the refs couldn’t hear due to the crowd noise. The Azteccs ran down the floor, got the ball to Matt Bradley, who attacked the rim. He got the shot off under contact, but missed. 

Game over.

The last play was controversial in the sense that Bradley was mauled on the last play. If a foul was called, Bradley, an 80% free throw shooter, goes to the line with a chance to take the lead.

Aztec fans were understandably upset with the call. Even neutral observers commented that they would’ve been upset at the call.

Colorado St. fans point out that Bradley should have been called for a travel even before the shot was taken. Reasonable minds can disagree about whether Bradley took three steps or whether the first step was a “gather step,” which does not count as one of the three.

Overall, it does not matter. The Rams won, and they looked like the better team for most of the night. Despite the late meltdown, they deserved to win.

The real story concerns the Mountain West refs. A few days ago Colorado St. fans were upset tha they only lost to Wyoming due to poor refereeing. Sounds oddly familiar. Wyoming fans likely would have been livid if the call went the other way, either due to the travel or just the concept that “refs shouldn’t decide the game.”

Basically, every fanbase agrees that the refs are bad, but they allow the refs to be bad as long as it is in their favor. It is sad that so much attention is paid to poor refereeing each game, rather than the game itself. Matt Bradley was fantastic, David Roddy looked like the player of the year, and John Tonje should probably start more often. That is what fans should be talking about. Instead the focus is in the wrong place, and it is a shame.

The Rams won a hard fought game, and are in great position to get an at-large bid to the tournament if necessary. Their next game will be on the road against Nevada, who will be playing their fifth game in five days. It will be another good opportunity for the Rams to improve their resume.

The Aztecs have some work to do. Their next game is at home agianst Nevada on Sunday. It will be a short turnaround. The Aztecs are firmly on the bubble but need some quality wins to secure a spot in the tournament.

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