DENVER, Colo. – In their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance the Cameron men's basketball team fell in the opening round to #23 ranked St. Mary's 75-57 at the Auraria Events Center on the campus of Metro State University on Saturday afternoon.
"There are always added emotions in a tournament game because it's either win or go home," said head coach Nate Gamet. "We tried to keep things simple today and do the things we have done all year. The big thing we preached about the last couple of days was toughness and sticking together as a team and early for the most part I thought we did that."
"There were times we would have a couple lapses where we weren't as tough as we have been all year, and when we showed that today we were vulnerable," said Gamet.
The Rattlers were limited in their three-point shooting but was effective going 7-for-10 from the arc, while Cameron shot cold from downtown going 4-for-20.
Cameron (18-9) was led by Craig Foster who gave the Aggies 27 points; Tim Johnson scored 12, while Rudy Harrell chipped in seven.
Moses Sundufu led St. Mary's (22-7) with 20 points, Daryell Taylor added 16 points, while Isaiah Matthews chipped in 13.
Early in the first half the Aggies hung in with the Rattlers matching them bucket-by-bucket and took a three point lead at the 10:00 mark. An 8-1 run by St. Mary's with less than six minutes created some distance from Cameron and they held onto a 10 point lead at the half, 38-28.
The Aggies were 42.9 percent (9-21) from the field, while going 33.3 percent (3-9) from the arc. Foster led the Ags in scoring with 12 points, and Johnson wasn't far behind with 10 points.
Cameron had a hard time stopping Sundufu from the arc nailing three treys in the first half; he would lead all scorers with 15 points at halftime.
At the start of the second half, Cameron played with a spark opening with an 8-3 run in the first four minutes, and pulling in within five. However, the Rattlers would respond back with a field goal and three to retake their 10 point lead, 46-36 at the 13:47 mark.
Following the first media timeout, the Rattlers continued to play hot going on a quick 7-0 run opening their lead to 17 points with 11:39 left.
From there the Rattler lead stabilized and the Ags couldn't sustain a large enough run in the remaining time falling, 75-57.
Cameron as a team shot 34.5 percent from the field, while shooting 20.0 percent from the arc. St. Mary's went 45.8 percent from the field while going 70.0 percent from the arc. In the rebounding battle, Cameron trailed 45 to 33.
"Overall this was a great season for the program, we made the NCAA Tournament for the first time, and we had great support from Cameron and the community all year," Gamet said.
This marks the end of a historic season for Cameron men's basketball, where the made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and finished in second in the Lone Star Conference.
Courtesy: Cameron Athletics