Tumultuous season for csu basketball ends in mw tournament

There was no hiding the emotional toll a difficult season took on the CSU men’s basketball team wednesday, when it finally came to an end in the first round of the mountain west tournament at the thomas & mack center.

“everyone has a different life story, but basketball-wise, this is probably the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through,” anthony bonner said.

But the outpouring of emotion afterward wasn’t about the game itself. It was about the struggles the rams (11-21) went through over the course of the season, the worst by a colorado state university team since 2008-09.Utah state

Head coach larry eustachy was placed on paid administrative leave feb. 3, less than a month after winning his 121st game at CSU to move into a tie for no. 2 on the school’s all-time victories list.

The leave was prompted by the second investigation in four years into how he ran his program, namely his reported abusive behavior to players and staff. He resigned feb. 26, reaching a $750,000 settlement with the school to buy out the three remaining years on his contract.

The rams’ first interim coach, steve barnes, was also placed on leave feb. 10, just a week after being put in charge over concerns he was running the program in a similar manner as eustachy, his longtime friend and boss for 22 years, had.First half

Later that day, with second-year assistant jase herl taking over the reins, the rams snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 90-79 win over san jose state.

It was the only win in the final 12 games of the season for a team that, at times, appeared to simply be going through the motions. CSU lost its final two home games, to boise state and new mexico, by margins of 33 and 21 points, respectively.

“the hardest part was trying to find something to play for, some motivation,” bonner said. “obviously, you could see it in some of the games, like new mexico and boise; there just wasn’t a lot of motivation.Utah state

“we got bashed for it at times. We got this said about us, that said about us. But at the end of the day, it takes a special person and special group of guys to get through that together and still finish out the season and play some games hard.”

Carvacho, a 6-foot-11 forward, played all 40 minutes. Junior guard prentiss nixon played 39 minutes and bonner played 36. Che bob, the team’s lone senior, would have played more but picked up three fouls in the first half and his fourth in the first minute of the second half.

Utah state (16-16), the no. 7 seed in the 11-team tournament, took full advantage, attacking the rim late in the game for easy baskets and out-rebounding the 10th-seeded rams 40-31.Utah state utah state, which trailed by as much as 15 points in the first half, scored 22 points in the paint while shooting 56 percent (18 of 32) from the floor in the second half after scoring just six points inside and shooting 42 percent (10 of 24) in the first half, which ended with the rams up 35-33.

After falling behind by as many as seven points midway through the second half, the rams pulled within three on a free throw by deion james with 4:28 remaining. It was their last point of the season. Utah state closed out the game on an 8-0 run to advance to a quarterfinal game thursday against boise state, the no. 2 seed.Bonner said

Sophomore guard koby mcewen scored 25 points, junior forward dwayne brown 15 and senior guard julion pearre 14, making 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range, for the aggies.

“I’m sure there might be some changes,” bonner said. “but at the end of the day, everyone’s going to do what’s best for them, and we’re always going to be brothers no matter what, because of the experiences we’ve gone through together.

Follow reporter kelly lyell at twitter.Com/kellylyell and facebook.Com/kellylyell.News and listen to him talk CSU sports at 11:35 a.M. Thursdays on KFKA radio (AM 1310) and 10:45 a.M.First half saturdays on denver’s ESPN radio (AM 1600).

Colorado state (11-21)—bob 5-8 0-2 12, james 3-12 1-2 7, carvacho 2-6 4-6 8, nixon 5-16 0-1 14, bonner 6-12 2-3 15, mitchell 3-9 0-0 6, jenkins 1-1 0-0 3, ryan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-64 7-14 65.

Utah state (16-16)—mcewen 8-18 7-8 25, merrill 5-12 1-1 11, brown 6-10 2-2 15, pearre 4-6 2-2 14, taylor 2-4 0-1 4, isby 0-0 0-0 0, dargenton 3-3 1-4 7, henson 0-0 0-0 0, brito 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 13-18 76.