The San Jose State Spartans came back twice from significant deficits, but ran out of gas at the end in a 66-64 loss to the Colorado State Rams at the Event Center Wednesday night and remain winless in their first season in the Mountain West Conference.
The loss dropped the Spartans (6-9, 0-3 Mountain West) to 0-7 all-time against Colorado State (10-6, 1-2).
Isaac Thornton hit two free throws with 10 seconds to go to get San Jose State back to within a point at 65-64. After a foul against the Spartans with six seconds remaining, Daniel Bejarano made the first and missed the second. Jaleel Williams was able to corral the rebound for San Jose State, but the Spartans were unable to get off a shot.
The Spartans trailed 10-2 early before rallying to lead by as much as six. They settled for a 30-27 halftime lead. Colorado State came back to lead 51-45 with 8:16 remaining, but San Jose State chipped away and took a 59-58 lead on Thornton’s 3-pointer with 1:35 left. After a pair of Rams free throws, Williams gave the Spartans the lead once more with a layup that made it 61-60.
J.J. Avila made a pair of free throws to give Colorado State a 62-61 edge and Bejarano hit one of two from the line to make it 63-61. Rashad Muhammad missed a potential game-tying free throw with 18 seconds left, though, and Avila helped the Rams ice the game with a couple of more charity shots.
Avila led the Rams with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Bejarano added 15 points, five assists and three steals and Joe De Ciman scored 13 points and had three steals.
Muhammad had 28 points for the Spartans, while Chris Cunningham added 13 and Williams tossed in 11 to go with six rebounds. Jalen James dished out seven assists and Thornton blocked a pair of shots.
Colorado State was 21-for-52 (40.4 percent) overall, 4-for-10 (40 percent) from 3-point range and 20-for-27 (74.1 percent) from the foul line. San Jose State was 19-for-40 (47.5 percent), 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) and 17-for-22 (77.3 percent).
The Spartans had a 29-26 edge on the boards, but committed 19 turnovers to just nine for the Rams.
San Jose State hosts New Mexico, which improved to 11-3 and 2-0 in the conference with an overtime win at Wyoming Wednesday night, at the Event Center Saturday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Pacific.