The Rams lost 79-72 at San Diego State in overtime Saturday night after making a dramatic 17-4 run in the last 6:42 to force the extra session.
But the Aztecs showed their poise and flexed their championship pedigree in overtime, outscoring CSU 16-8 while holding the Rams to just two made field goals.
SDSU senior Chase Tapley took over the extra period, scoring 12 of his 19 points after the end of regulation while also forcing a key turnover with the game tied at 65 and 3:26 remaining.
“In overtime, I just had to get the most energy. When you have teammates like I have, they are just pushing you saying that we need buckets,” Tapley said. “I was there, I am that guy, so I had to put the ball in the basket. Thank God they were falling in overtime.”
The Aztecs had a chance to finish the game in regulation, but reigning MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin missed a three-point attempt as time expired.
Franklin finished with a game-high 23 points while adding seven rebounds and two assists.
Neither team shot the ball well, with both CSU and SDSU clocking in under 40 percent from the field.
The Aztecs made seven more three-pointers than CSU and also shot and made six more free throws.
CSU continued its season long assault on the glass, out-rebounding SDSU 54-38 while pulling down 19 offensive boards.
Three Rams collected double-digit rebounds, lead by senior Colton Iverson’s 14. He also scored 18 points for his sixth double-double this year.
Senior Wes Eikmeier scored 22 points to pace CSU after struggling on the road for much of last season.
The loss snaps CSU’s seven game winning streak and drops the Rams to 0-1 in MW play. SDSU improved to 2-0 in conference and 14-2 overall.
CSU will play its MW home opener Wednesday against Air Force at 7:00 p.m.