FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Wes Eikmeier scored 19 points and Colorado State made all 23 of its free throws, beating No. 13 San Diego State 77-60 on Saturday for its first home win over a ranked team in more than eight years.
Will Bell added 17 points and the Rams (14-6, 3-2 Mountain West) frustrated the fatigued Aztecs (18-3, 4-1) all afternoon, limiting them to 3-of-21 shooting from 3-point range.
It was the first time Colorado State beat a Top 25 team at Moby Arena since knocking off Purdue 71-69 on Dec. 30, 2003. Fans were eager to join the celebration as the student section rushed onto the floor, some waving cardboard cutouts of Rams coach Tim Miles.
Colorado State set a conference record by going 23 for 23 at the foul line.
Jamaal Franklin had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Aztecs, who had their 11-game winning streak snapped. Chase Tapley, the conference's leading scorer, was held to 10 points. He was averaging 16.4.
Colorado State led by as many as 18 points midway through the second half, then weathered a late surge by San Diego State, which hadn't lost since Nov. 30 against Creighton. The Aztecs turned up the pressure and whittled the deficit to 12 with 4:12 remaining.
That's when the Rams became more deliberate on offense, draining time off the clock and waiting for the Aztecs to foul them. Colorado State hit 12 free throws down the stretch to end a nine-game skid against San Diego State.
When ranked in The Associated Press poll, the Aztecs have been very successful against unranked teams, entering this game with a 38-0 mark. But they just never found their range, shooting 31 percent from the field.
Part of that may have been due to their arduous traveling adventures earlier in the week. Because of heavy snow, it took San Diego State 20 hours to arrive in Laramie, Wyo., for a game Tuesday night against the Cowboys.
After beating Wyoming 52-42, the Aztecs chartered a flight and flew back home, not wanting to miss any more class time than necessary. Then they returned to the Front Range to face Colorado State.
Their legs looking tired, the Aztecs trailed 40-28 at halftime, the team's largest first-half deficit of the season. The Aztecs shot 2 of 14 on 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.
At intermission, the Rams introduced new football coach Jim McElwain, who is beginning to settle into the role after helping Alabama win a national championship as offensive coordinator. McElwain led the football team onto the court to a rousing ovation.