The Nevada Wolf Pack simply could not climb out of another huge hole.
The Pack lost for the seventh consecutive time Saturday night, falling to the Colorado State Rams 77-66 at Fort Collins, Colo. Colorado State led the entire game to improve to 24-7 overall and 11-5 in the Mountain West. The Pack fell to 12-18 and finished its first Mountain West season in last place at 3-13.
Deonte Burton put the Pack on his back, scoring 27 points and playing the entire 40 minutes. Burton, though, turned the ball over six times as the Pack committed 16 turnovers to lose for the 10th time in its last 11 games and 14th time in the last 17 games.
Colorado State held off the Pack down the stretch from the free throw line. The Rams' last field goal of the game was a lay-up by Pierce Hornung (16 points, 13 rebounds) for a 61-51 lead with 4:26 to play. The last 16 Rams' points then came from the free throw line over the final 3:46.
Wes Eikmeier hit eight consecutive free throws during a stretch of 21 seconds to keep the Pack at arms' length in the final minute. Eikmeier finished with 20 points.
Colton Iverson led the Rams with 21 points. Iverson made three of the Rams' final 16 free throws, including two important ones for a 67-56 lead with 1:38 left. Jon Octeus hit four free throws in the final two minutes, giving Colorado State a 65-56 lead with 1:49 left and a 77-65 advantage with 35 seconds left.
A 3-pointer by Malik Story cut Colorado State's lead to 59-50 with 5:13 to go. That was the only trey of the game for the Pack's all-time leader in 3-pointers. And that 3-pointer would prove to be his final points of the game as the senior missed 5-of-6 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
The Wolf Pack got as close as seven (63-56), after a lay-up by Marqueze Coleman with 2:02 left. Coleman started in place of an injured Jerry Evans (wrist) and scored 12 points with five rebounds in 30 minutes. He had three lay-ups in the final three minutes to keep the Pack in the game.
Kevin Panzer and Cole Huff combined for six points and six rebounds in 43 minutes. Jordan Burris added seven points in 21 minutes off the bench.
Colorado State went on a 9-0 run to take a 25-10 lead mid-way through the first half. Burton had 11 points as the Pack fell behind 39-21 at the half.
The Wolf Pack will play its first game in the Mountain West tournament on Tuesday in Las Vegas.