Jan. 25, 2006
Wyoming withstood a furious comeback by Colorado State to beat the Rams, 72-67 in Mountain West Conference men's basketball action Wednesday night in Moby Arena.
The visiting Cowboys jumped to a 21-4 lead 13 minutes into the game, only to see the Rams rally to lead late in the half. Sparked by the play of forward Jason Smith, who scored a game-most 18 points, the Rams used a 20-2 run over a six minute span to take their first lead of the game, 26-25. Stuart Creason's layin put the Rams ahead with one minute, 18 seconds in the half, though Wyoming came back to take the intermission lead by a point, 27-26.
Colorado State opened the game by making just three of the team's first 18 field goal tries in falling behind by 17, the Rams' largest deficit at home this season. But after Derek Wabbington put Wyoming ahead, 21-4 with just under nine minutes left in the first half, Colorado State outscored the Cowboys, 22-6 the rest of the way to close the gap a one-point halftime deficit.
CSU held Wyoming without a field goal the final eight minutes, 11 seconds of the half, instead limiting the visiting Cowboys to four free throws.
"We seemed out of synch early," said Rams' coach Dale Layer of his team's slow start. "We had some open looks, but we didn't finish."
CSU clawed back into the contest behind Smith - who fouled out late in the game - but the 17-point deficit was too much to overcome, Layer said.
"I thought they played harder than we did for 40 minutes. We played hard in spurts. They were attacking, we were reacting. The most aggressive team won."
The teams traded four more leads in the opening three minutes of the second half. Wyoming took the lead for good, 35-33, on Brandon Ewing's basket and would stretch the lead to 10. Colorado State narrowed the deficit to three, 43-40, with 13 minutes, 30 seconds to play on a basket by Cory Lewis. But Wyoming outscored the Rams 9-2 over the next four minutes to widen the lead to 10.
With Wyoming leading by six with just under four minutes to play, CSU closed within four, 63-59, on a pair of Smith free throws. The Rams would come no closer the rest of the way.
CSU finished the night shooting 39 percent from the floor, by far the team's lowest figure of the year at home. The Rams were outrebounded, 44-27, the widest deficit of the season for CSU.
"That's the sign of an aggressive team," Layer said. "You have to be the aggressor. They were. We weren't. They attacked the rim and got to the free throw line."
Colorado State was nearly perfect at the line, making 14-of-15 free throws. But Wyoming, with five players scoring in double figures, made 24-of-32 shots at the charity stripe. Both teams finished with 23 field goals.
Michael Harrison was the only other Ram to score in double figures, finishing with 11, while Stephan Gilling added nine points. Creason finished with eight, while Morris - who came off the bench to spark the first half rally - finished with seven.
Wyoming was led by Ewing, who finished with a team-best 16 points.
Colorado State is back in action Saturday night, playing host to MWC rival Brigham Young at 7 p.m. in Moby Arena. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-491-RAMS, or on line at CSURAMS.com. Tickets to all CSU games are also available at all King Soopers and City Market grocery store locations throughout the state of Colorado.