Men's basketball recap: Rams rebound with big win over No. 13/12 Aztecs
Jan. 28, 2012
By Danny Mattie
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State men's basketball team used a 22-6 run midway through the first half to turn an early three-point deficit into a 13-point advantage, and never looked back en route to a 77-60 victory over the No. 13/12-ranked San Diego State Aztecs in front of 6,038 at Moby Arena Saturday afternoon.
The win snapped the Aztecs' 11-game winning streak and marked CSU's first victory over a top-25 team since the program captured two during the course of the 2003-04 season with victories over No. 22 Purdue, CSU's last top-25 win at Moby Arena, and No. 25 Air Force, the Rams' last such victory overall.
"It was a good win," said Head Coach Tim Miles, who picked up his first win over Steve Fisher and the Aztecs since taking over the Rams' program in 2007-08. "I'll take it. I thought we could win."
The Rams (14-6, 3-2 MW) held the Mountain West-leading Aztecs (18-3, 4-1) to just 31 percent shooting on the afternoon, including 3-for-21 (.143) from the three-point line.
"We caught them on a bad shooting night, which helped," added Miles. "I think the reason was they just missed shots, but I thought we defended all right."
On top of the CSU's improved defense, the Rams, who lead the Mountain West in field-goal, three-point and free-throw percentage, shot very well on their home court after a pair of dismal offensive performances in back-to-back road losses at Wyoming and New Mexico.
"I thought they were good in practice (the last two days)," said Miles. "We just saw what we were doing wrong, how we can play, and how we were supposed to play - that kind of self-recognition. We just played the way we know we have to play to be successful."
The Rams connected on 24-of-49 attempts from the field in the contest, and shot 46.2 percent from beyond the arc, while setting a Mountain West record with a 23-for-23 performance from the free-throw line.
Junior guard Wes Eikmeier, who entered the game as the MW's second-leading scorer behind SDSU's Chase Tapley, led the Rams with 19 points in the contest. Senior forward Will Bell added 17 point and five rebounds and junior guard Dorian Green tallied 12 points and a game-high four assists, while holding Tapley to just 10 points on the defensive end.
"Dorian did a great job on Tapley," said Eikmeier after the game. "I don't know if everyone noticed, but he was chasing him around the whole game so credit Dorian for that."
Two players joined Tapley in double figures for the Aztecs led by Jamaal Franklin who tallied 24 points and 10 rebounds. Xavier Thames added 10 points and led SDSU with three assists.
The Rams will enjoy the victory tonight before beginning preparation for a pair of key games next week at No. 15/12 UNLV and home against in-state rival Air Force.
"I want them to feel good about this," added Miles. "I would expect these guys to fully understand what UNLV presents and then Air Force. It's a big week for us next week."
Wednesday's game at UNLV will be broadcast nationally on The Mtn. and is slated for 8:30 p.m. MT from the Thomas & Mack Center.