Jan. 22, 2011
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By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - In front of a sell-out crowd of 8,745, the CSU Rams came within a few possessions of stunning the college basketball nation.
Instead, CSU (13-6, 3-2 MWC), led by Wes Eikmeier (25 points, a career high), Travis Franklin (21) and Andy Ogide (18, and 10 rebounds), lost 94-85 to the No. 9 BYU Cougars (19-1, 5-0 MWC) at Moby Arena Saturday night.
BYU led by 15 at halftime, and scored the first four points of the second half to increase its lead to 19. But the Rams responded with a 12-5 run, capped off by an Ogide layup, that brought the score to 64-52.
As the emphatic student sections were starting to regain their excitement after the run, BYU got a couple quick buckets and the lead was back to 16.
The Rams rode another 12-5 run starting with 10:35 left, beginning with an Eikmeier trey and ending slightly more than 3 minutes later on a Dwight Smith three, and CSU found itself trailing by just six points, 75-69.
Smith, a freshman guard who had just eight games under his belt heading into the evening, was given the tough assignment of guarding Naismith Award candidate Jimmer Fredette, a senior guard who leads the nation in scoring average.
"I guess I just pride myself on defense," Smith said. "I knew I had to stay ready and stay focused. It was just an overall team thing; it wasn't really an individual thing for me at all."
Rams Head Coach Tim Miles was more than pleased with Smith's effort.
"I think Dwight Smith was the catylyst in the second half," Miles said.
CSU pulled to within six points once more, after Ogide sank two free throws, to bring the score to 79-73 with 5:14 remaining.
But BYU's solid free-throw shooting (21-of-25, 82 percent) helped the Cougars hold off the Rams in the final few minutes.
The game marked the first sellout of Moby Arena since Jan. 25, 2003, when CSU lost in a thriller to Wyoming, 79-77.
"That's a treasure," Miles said of the crowd. "That kind of night is a lifetime memory for our players, everybody involved. I just thought it was awesome. I'm disappointed we couldn't come through for them. The crowd made us feel like we were going to come back and win."
Ogide agreed, and added even more about the significance of the crowd's role.
"The crowd was phenomenal," Ogide said. "At one point in the second half I was really winded, and then I heard the crowd, and it just got my energy going right back. When you have that, it really is your sixth man. I haven't seen anything close to that since I've been here, and I think that's a testament to the progress that we're making."
Fredette scored 42 points to lead the Cougars, tallying his second 40-plus point performance of the month. Jackson Emery and Kyle Collinsworth each added 16, and Brandon Davies also scored in double-digits with 12.
The 85 points marked the second-best offensive performance that any team has posted against the one-loss Cougars this season. The Rams also held the Cougars to just 11-of-30 shooting in the second half.
CSU will stay home to take on in-state rival Air Force on Wednesday at 6 p.m. MT. Television coverage will be provided by The Mtn.