Jan. 11, 2014
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State men's basketball team improved to 2-2 in the Mountain West and 11-6 on the year with a decisive 76-57 victory over Fresno State (8-9, 1-3 MW) at Moby Arena on Saturday night.
The Rams committed themselves to playing stifling defense throughout the game, and limited the Bulldogs to just 35 percent shooting and 57 points, the third lowest scoring output for Fresno State on the season.
"We knew we could score enough points," Head Coach Larry Eustachy said. "We just didn't know if we could stop, but we did a nice job stopping them."
Colorado State was particularly effective shutting down sophomore guard Marvelle Harris. Harris came into the contest leading the team 16.8 points per game, but struggled mightily throughout the night, registering just one point on 0-8 shooting.
Four Rams finished the night scoring in double figures, led by junior guards Jon Octeus and Daniel Bejarano who each notched 19 points and seven rebounds. Octeus connected on all three of his three-point attempts, setting a career high for three-point field goals in a game, as CSU shot 9-17 from deep.
Fresno State jumped on Colorado State from the get-go and raced out to a 12-4 lead on the Rams, but had trouble sustaining that success. Behind some key plays from junior forward J.J. Avila and senior forward Gerson Santo, the Rams responded with a 21-2 run over 6:36 to gain a double-digit advantage over Fresno State with 7:06 left in the half.
Santo finished the night with 11 points on a perfect 4-4 shooting, while Avila added 13 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. With his 13 points, Avila passed the 1,000 career points milestone and now has 1,008 points in his three-year collegiate career.
Colorado State led by as much as 15 points in the first half, but Fresno State kept within striking distance thanks to nine consecutive points by senior guard Tyler Johnson to make it 38-27 at halftime.
In the second half, the Rams turned up their defensive intensity even more and got crucial plays and shots from Bejarano to keep them ahead of an aggressive Fresno State squad. After being held scoreless and going 0-7 from the field in the first half, Bejarano scored all 19 of his points in the second half, including a period in which he scored 13 consecutive points for the Rams.
"I just let the game come to me," Bejarano said. "We have a really good team; I had zero points in the first half, and we were still up."
Fresno State pulled within six points at 62-56 with 8:30 left in the game, but that's when Colorado State put down the clamps on defense. The Bulldogs only got one more free throw in the game and were held scoreless for the last 7:50 of the game.
"This team, at such an early age, understands when they are playing right and when they are playing wrong," Eustachy said. "When we played really well, they were all executing."
Fresno State missed its last nine shots, and 11 of its last 12, as CSU ended on a 15-1 run to pull away from its Mountain West foe. The Rams next turn their attention to a tough road contest against the Utah State Aggies (11-3) on Wednesday night. Tipoff in Logan, Utah is set for 7 p.m. MT, and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
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