The Colorado State men’s basketball team has been presented with plenty of opportunities to throw in the towel this season.

From legal issues, to academic issues, to distractions in the national media, the Rams have managed to put it all aside and compete. Tuesday night was no different. A Colorado State team fueled by heart and pride refused to go down without a fight.

That heart was on display on Tuesday night in the Rams’ 79-76 loss to the Boise State Broncos.

The Rams found themselves in a 19-point hole with 5 minutes and 25 seconds to play in the first half, but clawed and scratched their way back into the game. They went into the locker room at halftime trailing the Broncos 43-40.

Since losing Che Bob, Kimani Jackson and Devocio Butler for the remainder of the season to academic eligibility, the Rams have really only been operating with seven players. They’ve since added former track athlete Juan Sabino II as a walk on, but he’s only appeared in one game for the Rams this season.

But what the Rams lack in numbers, they make up for in heart.

“You’ve got to give this batch of seven guys a lot of credit,” Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy said of his team’s effort following the loss. “I’m proud of how they fought.”

The Rams did their best to make things interesting down the stretch, but ultimately fell short in the end.

Down 19 with five to play in the first half with only seven players at their disposal would’ve been the perfect time to chalk the game up as a loss and get ready for the next one, but the Rams dug in and fought.

“We grew some n*ts to be honest,” sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon said of the run to end the first half. “Nobody wanted to lose like we lost to New Mexico. That’s basically what we came down to.”

They didn’t walk off the court with a look on their face that indicated that they were just happy to be in it, they walked off the floor upset that they couldn’t pull off the comeback. It doesn’t matter that the Rams are only playing with seven guys, they are playing to win.

“We plan on winning every game we go out,” Eustachy said.

To find the heart on this team, you have to look no further than the performances that seniors Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo have put forth since the team shrank by three. Clavell, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week, put up 15 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday’s loss.

Omogbo recorded his 12th double-double on the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday night and sophomore guard J.D. Paige led the way with a team-high 20 points in the loss.

The Rams certainly aren’t out of the race for first place. With eight games to play, they are currently in a tie for third place with New Mexico with a Feb. 21 matchup still looming.

The road certainly won’t be an easy one, but Eustachy knows that nothing is set in stone at this point in the season.

“Obviously this was a huge setback,” Eustachy said. “Who knows what could happen?”