Senior forward Will Bell finished with a career-high 23 points on Saturday night
Jan. 14, 2012
By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - It took 10 extra minutes of action, but strong overtime efforts by a shortened CSU bench paved the way for a 95-89 double-overtime victory over TCU at Moby Arena on Saturday night.
The win gives the Rams (12-4, 1-0 MW) their first conference victory of the season gives CSU its third consecutive MW-opening win. Also, CSU now holds a seven-game winning streak, its longest since a nine-game stretch in 2006-07.
Senior Will Bell led the way for the Rams with career highs in points (23) and blocks (four), while also tying a personal best with eight rebounds.
"This game was right in his wheelhouse because he was able to get some space and finish at the rim," Head Coach Tim Miles said. "Will's not the typical post player, because he is undersized, that you're going to throw it to and make a back-to-the-basket play.
"This game, we needed him to perform the way he did, and he came through like gangbusters."
Bell's final block was his most important, turning away a Kyan Anderson jumper with 32 seconds remaining in the second overtime.
"I saw him kind of try to get to the basket so I knew he was going to try and throw up some kind of a prayer," Bell, a Colorado Springs native, said. "I had to make sure it wasn't going to go in."
CSU held a 76-65 advantage with 2:47 left in the contest after a three-pointer by Wes Eikmeier. TCU (10-6, 0-1) controlled the rest of regulation, however, and stormed back to tie the game at 76, including seven late points by guard Hank Thorns.
Two Eikmeier jumpers gave the Rams a four-point edge at the start of overtime but two quick scores by TCU followed, including a trey by forward Craig Williams.
Dorian Green answered with a layup on a well-executed set play orchestrated by Coach Miles. Thorns then coughed the ball up to Eikmeier who was fouled and sent to the charity stipe. The junior made just one of the attempts to give CSU a two-point lead.
CSU played strong perimeter defense after TCU's inbound play to eliminate a three-pointer but Horned Frogs forward Amric Fields was able to drive the lane for a game-tying layup with less than a second remaining.
Green hit four free throws in the second overtime to boost CSU's score and free throws by Eikmeier and Jesse Carr gave the Rams the victory.
The Rams got the win with only seven players playing double-digit minutes due to a shortened bench with injuries to Dwight Smith and Trevor Williams. Miles felt CSU got the most out of its gas tank Saturday night.
"It was told to me one time that there are days when a NASCAR driver doesn't have his best car, and he has to find a way from 10th to fifth, and just get the most out of the car that night," Miles said. "We had to get first though, and I thought we did that. I thought our kids did that, got stops and made some plays."
Eikmeier finished with 21 points, tallying 19 in the second half and overtime. Green added 19, while Carr notched 12, and Pierce Hornung finished with 11 before fouling out in the second half.
The Rams connected on 35-of-63 (55.6 percent) of their shots while holding the Horned Frogs to 42.9 percent. TCU made up for the differential by hitting 12 shots from three-point land, compared to CSU's four.
Boise State closes out the Rams' four-game home stand when it comes to Moby Arena Tuesday. Tipoff between the Rams and the Broncos is slated for 8 p.m. MT and the game will be televised nationally on The Mtn.
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