Three Auburn players scored in double figures, including a team-high 18 points from Josh Dollard, but Auburn (2-1) was unable to hold off Colorado State (5-0) Monday night, falling to the Rams 77-67.
"We battled to the end," head coach Jeff Lebo said. "Colorado State's size is tremendous. Not only are they big, they are good. I was happy with the way we played to the end."
Trailing 66-56 with 5:04 remaining, Auburn used a 9-2 run and cut Colorado State's lead to three, 68-65, with 2:19 to go, but the Rams answered with a run of their own.
Colorado State's Sean Morris buried a three-pointer at the 2:00 mark that sparked a 9-2 run to close the game.
With Colorado State leading 38-36 at intermission, the Rams went on a 14-6 run to start the half and eventually took their largest lead of the game of 12 (56-44) at the 12:07 mark of the second half.
Despite both of Colorado State's 7-foot-0 sophomores Stuart Creason and Jason Smith saddled with four fouls by the 8:59 mark, Auburn was unable to put a run together to cut into the Rams' lead.
The Rams were keyed to victory by free-throw shooting, as they connected on 24-of-42 attempts (57.1 percent), while Auburn only attempted 19 free throws, finishing 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) from the stripe.
Besides, Dollard's 18 points, the Tigers were led by Quantez Robertson with 13 points and just one turnover in 31 minutes, and Korvotney Barber with 10 points and eight rebounds.
After falling behind by seven points (24-17) at the 7:08 mark of the first half, the Tigers responded with a 10-3 run sparked by a thunderous dunk by Frank Tolbert on a breakaway.
With the Tigers trailing 27-23, Dollard took control of the game, scoring 11 straight points for Auburn to give the Tigers a 34-33 lead. Colorado State rattled off the next six points before Ronny LeMelle made a layup just before intermission to cut the Rams' lead to 38-36 at the break.
Auburn took its largest lead of the half at 13-10 with a Barber tip-in following a missed free throw by Daniel Hayles.
Dollard led the Tigers with 15 points at the half on 5-of-9 shooting, while making 5-of-6 free throws.
Colorado State finished the half with Creason and Smith combining to score 12 of the Rams' final 14 points to end the half.
Smith and Creason paced the Rams with 21 and 18 points, respectively.
Auburn returns to the court on Dec. 1 when McNeese State visits Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum at 7:00 p.m.