FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Head Coach Larry Eustachy earned his 100th victory at Colorado State as his Rams defeated San Jose State Spartans, 81-72, Wednesday evening in Moby Arena. The win improves the Rams to 13-8 on the season and 5-3 in Mountain West play, while the Spartans fell to 9-10 on the year and 2-6 in conference competition.
The Rams started the game off hot, hitting their first four shots from the floor, as CSU got an early 11-5 lead. The Spartans made their own run in the opening period, including 5-of-6 from the three-point arc, to take a lead at 19-17. From that point, there were four lead changes before the Rams went into halftime with a 33-29 lead.
Colorado State extended its lead to 11 early in the second half on a 7-0 run on five points from senior Gian Clavell and a layup by sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon made it 40-19 less than two minutes in. The Rams pushed it to as many as 15 three times in the second half, but the visitors clawed back into it late, trimming the margin to six with just over a minute to play. From there, CSU connected on 10-of-12 free throws in that final segment to earn the victory.
The Rams shot 49.1 percent (28-of-57) from the floor for the game and outrebounded the Spartans 42-29. Colorado State also went a crucial 20-of-26 (76.9 percent) from the charity stripe. San Jose State shot 41 percent (24-of-58) for the game, including 10-of-26 from three-point arc, but struggled from the free throw line, shooting 60.9 percent (14-of-23).
Clavell and senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo led the Rams with double-doubles, as the duo posted a combined 36 points and 23 rebounds. Clavell's 24 points led the Rams, while his 12 rebounds were a season-high. Four other Rams finished with double figures -- Nixon (17), Omogbo (12), redshirt-sophomore guard J.D. Paige (10) and redshirt-freshman Nico Carvacho (10) . Sophomore forward Brandon Clarke paced the Spartans with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
IN THEIR WORDS...
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy
"I thought we grew a lot over a 40 minute period... We made them guard us for long periods of time so we didn't have to hurry back on defense. Our offense was able to get a good shot, as opposed to a turnover, so we were able to get back on defense. I just saw a lot of growth with this team throughout the game."
(on how players will respond to playing such big minutes)
"Gian (Clavell) and Prentiss (Nixon) can both play 40 minutes. Nico (Carvacho) is starting to get more conditioned and play longer periods of time... The fouls will get us one night, that's what happens with a thin roster. I told the team that we don't only have to win this game; we have to win it the right way. For large portions of the game, we played the right way."
Senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo
(on his leadership role with this team)
I am here to do whatever I have to do and Gian led us to a big win tonight. We have to move on to the next game after enjoying it for it a little bit and get another win at San Diego State University."
(on Nico Carvacho's efforts in today's match up)
"With Nico, it has to do with his confidence and just working on his game all the time. There are going to be mistakes because he is a redshirt freshman. But we can live with him getting a lot of offense rebounds for us and giving us extra shots."
Senior guard Gian Clavell
(on being apart of Coach Larry Eustachy's 100th CSU win)
"I am proud to be apart of it. I can say that I was involved in his 100th win at CSU. It's special."
(on sharing the ball offensively)
"We are playing well with each other and I am glad we are staying consistent."
San Jose State head coach Dave Wojcik
"Bottom line, I just got done talking to the team, and the hard thing is guarding the basketball. We can go out there right now and play pick up, five-on-five, and you are going to say I got this, you got that guy etc., but you still got to guard them. Rebounding is another problem of ours; they (Colorado State) beat us by 13 on the glass. Those are the two glaring things and, when we individually change those things, then collectively as a group we will be tough as nails."
STAT OF THE GAME...
The Rams sealed the win by hitting their free throws, as San Jose State fouled late to try to get back in it, but CSU converted on 10-of-12 in the final 1:12 of the game.
• Head coach Larry Eustachy earned his 100th win in his fifth seasons as the Rams head coach.
• CSU remains undefeated against San Jose State, improving to 15-0 in the all-time series.
• The Rams had five players in double-digit scoring for the first time in Mountain West play this season
• Nixon's 17 points all came in the second half, tying his highest point total in a half this season, and his five assists tied a career high.
• Carvacho's 10 points mark the third time this season the redshirt freshman has finished in double-digit scoring
• Colorado State will go back on the road for the third time in four games, traveling to defending MW regular season champion San Diego State, Jan. 28.
• Tip off at Viejas Arena is set for 4 p.m. MT as the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
• It will also air across the Colorado State Sports Network, including flagship KARS 102.9 FM, with Brian Roth on the play-by-play and Adam Nigon handling the analysis.
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